Australian medical technology company LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT) has signed an agreement with China-based Autobio Diagnostic to make a $2 million placement in LBT shares.
The agreement also transfers LBT’s proprietary MicroStreak intellectual property (IP) to Autobio, who will investigate the potential path to re-commercialise the technology.
Autobio is a publicly listed diagnostic company on the Shanghai Stock Exchange based in Zhengzhou. It specialises in in vitro diagnostic device (IVD) reagents, instrument research and development, manufacture and sales, and provides solutions for clinical laboratories with a variety of products primarily in immunoassays and microbial tests. Founded nearly 20 years ago and with over 2,000 employees, it is the largest manufacturer of culture plates in China with an approximate market capitalisation of around $4 billion.
MicroStreak was LBT’s foundation technology invented in 2004. From 2007-2015, the rights to LBT’s MicroStreak technology were exclusively licensed to French diagnostic company bioMérieux, which marketed MicroStreak as PREVI Isola.
In 2015, the agreement was renegotiated in which LBT resumed all exclusive rights to MicroStreak and received a US$5.5 million finalisation payment.
According to LBT CEO and managing director, Brent Barnes, “We have been collaborating with Autobio for some time which has helped both LBT and Autobio better understand the market opportunity for MicroStreak in China. I’m pleased to have sold the IP to Autobio which may facilitate further collaboration between research and technology innovation provided by LBT, and typically lower cost engineering and manufacturing expertise found in China by Autobio.
“I was very impressed when visiting Autobio’s facility in Zhengzhou and there is a genuine strategic opportunity between our two companies. The transfer of MicroStreak IP is envisaged to support Autobio’s product line extension, and from an LBT perspective, having a large Chinese company as a top 20 shareholder creates opportunities to benefit all of our shareholders.”
Autobio founder and president, Miao Yongjun, said, “We hope to further build on the strategic collaboration established with LBT in the future as we explore further technologies to potentially cooperate on.”
LBT said the funds raised will be applied to the core business of commercialising the APAS Independence instrument through joint venture company Clever Culture Systems. APAS is an artificial intelligence technology for the automated imaging, image analysis, interpretation and reporting of growth on microbiology culture plates after incubation.