EDGC mulls merger with Korean Covid-19 test kit developer SolGent

2020.11.09 14:56:13 | 2020.11.09 14:56:40

[Photo provided by EDGC]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by EDGC]

Genome analysis company Eone-Diagnomics Genome Center (EDGC) is considering merging diagnostic test kit maker SolGent after the unit’s value has soared due to Covid-19 pandemic, and will come to a decision within the year, according to its senior executive.

The international joint venture established between Korea’s EONE Laboratories and U.S. Diagnomics will make a related announcement by the end of this year, Shin Sang-cheol, the co-founding CEO of EDGC, told Maeil Business Newspaper last week.

EDGC is the largest shareholder with about 22 percent in SolGent whose revenue is approaching 100 billion won ($898 million) this year, driven by strong exports of its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits for Covid-19 to 60 plus countries.

The merger option comes after EDGC and another affiliate EDGC Healthcare were merged into one in September, expanding its business reach to test kit assay and reagent markets.

EDGC already launched efforts to secure distribution rights to SolGent’s test kits before its merger transaction with EDGC Healthcare.

이미지 확대
Shin said the management is still weighing up whether to undertake an IPO for SolGent in Korea or absorb it into the parent. A merger would help boost sales of listed company EDGC and reallocate resources to R&D. A final option will be confirmed by the boards of the two companies around the end of this year, Shin said.

This year marks the first turnaround into a profit for EDGC since its founding in 2013 and the merger will further improve its financial statements, Shin emphasized.

EDGC currently offers various genetic diagnosis services that span across prenatal testing, aging, eye disease, and cancer areas. It has recently focused on liquid biopsy technology to detect cancer in early stages. Clinical trials of its liquid biopsy tests are underway in five carcer types, including head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer.

EDGC is also exploring drug development through its affiliate ViroCure, which is conducting a Phase 1 study of a cancer drug in Australia.

By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]