By Steve Dickman, CEO, CBT Advisors
There was a time not long ago when no amount of persuasion could have made most venture capitalists do a diagnostics deal. The reasons abounded: markets were too limited; margins were too low; and the number of potential acquirers too small. So imagine our surprise when the most upbeat session of this year’s c21 investor conference in late May was a panel discussion focused on – you guessed it – molecular diagnostics.
If this is not a feeding frenzy, then at least it seems to be a period of high marketability for private diagnostics companies seeking acquisition exits. Session chair Bill Kreidel of Ferghana Partners described four sell side diagnostics assignments his firm is working on for which multiple bidders had appeared.
What sells? Proprietary content, improvements in speed or sensitivity/specificity, robust datasets, and large markets. Who are the buyers? Clinical labs like Labcorp, naturally, but also instrumentation companies and companies in the imaging business like General Electric that “see diagnostics cannibalizing some of their revenue” and are trying to capture it back, said panelist Dion Madsen of Physic Ventures.
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