Abbott could up its ownership to 18.6% with an additional $20 million before July 31 and acquire the firm entirely for $175 to $210 million before June 30, 2009.

Abbott Laboratories plans to invest up to $40 million in Isis Pharmaceuticals’ subsidiary Ibis Biosciences. The backing will allow Ibis to further develop its technology for the detection of infectious agents, the Ibis T5000™ Biosensor System.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will initially purchase approximately 10.25% equity for $20 million. The company has the right to invest an additional $20 million to bring its total stake up to 18.6% before July 31.

Abbott will also receive an exclusive option to purchase the remaining Ibis equity for between $175 to $210 million through June 30, 2009; the price will vary depending on the successful completion of prenegotiated milestones. Abbott will also obtain an earn out based on achievement of certain cumulative sales.

The Ibis T5000 Biosensor System offers identification and characterization of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Ibis adds that it can provide information about drug resistance, virulence, and strain type of these pathogens within a few hours.

“We have been successful in commercializing our products for various government, epidemiology, and clinical research applications,” comments Michael Treble, president of Ibis. “We are excited about expanding our markets to hospital-based infections and eventually to diagnostics. We believe that this investment will allow us to accelerate the evolution of the Ibis technology to address our biggest market opportunity: clinical diagnostics.”

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