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SD Biosensor partners with domestic PEF to acquire U.S. diagnostic kit maker Meridian

By Lim Chang-won Posted : July 8, 2022, 11:14 Updated : July 8, 2022, 11:14

[Courtesy of SD Biosensor]

SEOUL -- With plenty of cash reserves from the robust overseas sale of COVID-19 antigen self-testing kits, SD Biosensor, an in-vitro diagnostics company in South Korea, joined hands with a domestic private equity fund to acquire Meridian Bioscience, a U.S. producer of diagnostic test kits, for two trillion won ($1.54 billion).

It was described as the biggest deal in South Korea's pharmaceutical and bio industry to acquire a foreign company. SD Biosensor said, adding that with Meridian under its wing, the South Korean company can accelerate its entry into North America and become a top-tier company in the global in-vitro diagnostic market.
SD Biosensor said it would control 60 percent of Meridian and its domestic partner, SJL Partners, is to hold the remainder. SD Biosensor anticipates synergy by utilizing Meridian's distribution network and licensing experience with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.   

SD Biosensor with production facilities in South Korea, India, Indonesia, and Brazil can reduce investment costs for overseas production by using Meridian's production facilities in the U.S., Germany, Britain and Canada. "We will become the world's third-largest company in the global on-site diagnostic market, including the U.S.," SD Biosensor chairman Cho Young-sik said in a statement on July 8.

SD Biosensor aims to secure a more solid in vitro diagnosis platform by combining Meridian's digestive infection diagnosis platform. The South Korean company has expanded its portfolio with abundant cash reserves and brisk exports.

In 2022, SD Biosensor acquired foreign companies, such as Bestbion, a German in vitro diagnostic product distributor, and Italia's medical device distributor Relab SRL to strengthen its distribution network in Europe. In Italy, SD Biosensor is selling STANDARD M10, a rapid molecular diagnostic device. 

SD Biosensor's cash reserves rose significantly through a jump in sales abroad. The company also raised some 776 billion won through its initial public offering in July 2021. SD Biosensor's consolidated operating profit in 2021 was up 83 percent from a year ago to 1.36 trillion won. Sales rose 74 percent on-year to 2.93 trillion won. 


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