Abaxis Sheds Veterinary Reference Lab

Abaxis Veterinary Reference Laboratories merges with Antech Diagnostics in a $21 million deal.

Abaxis Inc., a manufacturer of in-clinic blood analysis machines, has agreed to sell its veterinary reference laboratory to Antech Diagnostics Inc. for $21 million.

The acquisition was announced today and is expected to close by the end of March.

Antech, a division of the VCA Inc. animal hospital chain, is a leader in veterinary reference laboratory services along with Idexx Laboratories Inc. Los Angeles-based VCA reported laboratory revenue of $360 million in 2014 compared with $9.8 million at Abaxis Veterinary Reference Laboratories (AVRL).

Antech operates more than 50 diagnostic reference laboratories, offering more than 300 tests to 16,000 veterinary hospitals across the United States and Canada. AVRL’s work is done in Olathe, Kan.

Abaxis, based in Union City, Calif., viewed the sale as a chance to go back to the company’s roots.

“AVRL was an exciting venture for Abaxis, and we are pleased that we had the opportunity to enter the reference lab market,” said President and CEO Clint Severson.

“This transaction will allow us to return our focus to our state-of-the-art point-of-care analyzers and with our Antech relationship, now enhanced by distribution, to offer a complete laboratory solution to customers.”

Abaxis hinted at layoffs at AVRL. The company estimated pre-tax charges of $10 million to $12 million because of severance, contract termination and other costs.

Abaxis is offering jobs to some of the employees in customer service and technical service roles, but we have not finalized that number,” said Craig Tockman, DVM, vice president of sales and marketing. In addition, Antech will be offering positions to some of the personnel as well.

VCA and Abaxis have had a close relationship.

The companies in May 2014 announced a long-term agreement under which many VCA veterinary hospitals would stock Abaxis’ VetScan VS2 chemistry analyzers and diagnostic reagent discs. In addition, Antech Diagnostics uses the VetScan VS2.

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