UPDATE: DNA Genotek eyes expansion in wake of acquisition

Peter Kovessy
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Officials at DNA Genotek say they expect the company to continue growing in Ottawa even after it completes its US$53-million sale to U.S.-based OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR).

DNA Genotek's Ian Curry. (Photo by Etienne Ranger)

In a conference call with reporters late Monday afternoon, DNA Genotek president and CEO Ian Curry said the only change resulting from the acquisition is that he will now report to OraSure president and CEO Douglas Michels, rather than DNA Genotek’s board.

Mr. Michels echoed that perspective.

“Ian and his team are very capable,” he said.

“They have some very aggressive growth targets and we’re going to try to stay out of their way as best we can and let them continue to execute on their exciting plans.”

Neither man would speak specifically to DNA Genotek’s growth targets, but Mr. Curry said his firm has been developing products that would allow the company to move into infectious disease markets, such as tuberculosis and HIV.

“Those are very large market opportunities that compliment the human genetic market that we’ve been working on,” Mr. Curry said.

“The power of a public company behind us will allow us to keep growing.”

Founded in 1998, DNA Genotek develops technology that allows DNA samples to be taken from saliva, rather than blood.

That allows patients to easily collect their own DNA at home and mail it in for testing, instead of having to trek out to a lab.

The company says there are no commercially available competing products.

One of OBJ’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2010 with three-year revenue growth of 153 per cent, DNA Genotek has expanded into the livestock industry and, more recently, the space sector.

The company has 70 local employees, according to Ottawa Technology Magazine. DNA Genotek recorded US$14 million in sales last year, according to OraSure.

The Bethlehem, Pa.-based firm develops, manufactures and markets oral fluid specimen devices, with a focus on infectious diseases such as HIV.

Discussions about acquiring DNA Genotek began more than a year ago, said Mr. Michels.

“With each successive meeting, we fell more in love to the point that we thought this would be a great marriage between the two companies.”

Mr. Curry said the acquisition will help OraSure enter the molecular diagnostic market.

In its most recent quarterly results, published in early May, OraSure reported a net loss of US$2.6 million on US$17.4 million in revenue.

That compares to a loss of US$2.2 million on revenues of US$17.9 million a year earlier.

Shares of OraSure were down 2.7 per cent in mid-morning trading to US$9.

Organizations: OraSure Technologies.DNA Genotek, Fastest Growing Companies

Geographic location: Ottawa, Bethlehem, Pa.

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