Opko to Buy Bio-Reference for $1.47 Billion for Gene Data

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Phillip Frost
Billionaire Phillip Frost. Photographer: Ariel Jerozolimski/Bloomberg

Opko Health Inc., a drugs and diagnostics company, agreed to buy Bio-Reference Laboratories Inc. for about $1.47 billion in stock, gaining access to genetic data and sequencing technologies to aid medical discovery.

Opko is offering 2.75 of its shares for each one of Bio-Reference Labs, valuing the target’s common stock at $52.58 a share, the Miami-based company said Thursday in a statement. That’s a premium of about 60 percent to Wednesday’s closing price in New York.

The deal gives Opko, a company created by billionaire Phillip Frost, access to Bio-Reference Labs’ genetics and genomics data, which could provide clues for more personalized drug development. It will also use Bio-Reference Labs’ laboratory services and distribution channels to boost sales of its 4Kscore test, used to diagnose prostate cancer.

Opko shares fell 15 percent to $16.25 at the close in New York, its biggest one-day slide since December 2008. Elmwood Park, New Jersey-based Bio-Reference Labs rose 20 percent to $39.60, its biggest one-day gain in a year.

JPMorgan Chase & Co acted as a financial adviser to Opko, and Allen & Co. to Bio-Reference Labs. Greenberg Traurig LLP was Opko’s legal counsel, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP was Bio-Reference Labs’. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

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