Amersham part of group set for Nordion purchase

July 31, 1991

Amersham International of the U.K. will acquire 14.9% of radioisotopesupplier Nordion International. Amersham is a participant in theinvestment group that won bidding last month to buy Nordion fromthe Canadian government. The $165 million (U.S. $144

Amersham International of the U.K. will acquire 14.9% of radioisotopesupplier Nordion International. Amersham is a participant in theinvestment group that won bidding last month to buy Nordion fromthe Canadian government. The $165 million (U.S. $144 million)acquisition remains subject to due diligence prior to a finalclosing.

Nordion was formerly a division of Atomic Energy of CanadaLtd. (AECL). The Canadian government divided AECL into two companiesin 1988 in preparation for its privatization. Nordion is the world'slargest supplier of technetium-99m for use in nuclear medicine,according to W. Paul O'Neill, Nordion president.

The pharmaceutical company also supplies the strontium basefor Squibb's CardioGen, a rubidium-82 imaging agent for positronemission tomography. Squibb and Nordion signed a three-year strontiumsupply agreement last year (SCAN 7/4/90).

The other company formed out of AECL is Theratronics International,a manufacturer of cobalt cancer therapy products, O'Neill said.Both firms are based in Kanata, Ontario.

Theratronics purchased Medical High Technology International,a Clearwater, FL, computed tomography developer, three years ago.MHTI, in turn, bought CT tube developer Meicor last year (SCAN8/29/90).

Canadian divestiture legislation limited foreign ownershipof Nordion to 25%. The lead partner in the winning investmentgroup is MDS Health Group of Etobicoke, Ontario. MDS is an employee-owned,diversified health-care company. It will purchase 80.1% of Nordion.

Among its many medical businesses, MDS operates in vitro diagnostictesting laboratories and nursing homes, provides home-health servicesand develops medical office buildings, according to informationsupplied by the Canadian Ministry of Finance.

The third investment partner, acquiring the remaining 5% ofNordion, is the Terry Fox Medical Research Foundation. This isa charity established to stimulate an industrial biotechnologybase in British Columbia.

Nordion maintains three processing facilities. Both the Kanatasite and Nordion Europe outside Brussels manufacture and marketreactor-produced isotopes, including technetium, and related equipment.A facility in Vancouver, B.C., manufacturers cyclotron-producedradioisotopes.

More than 90% of Nordion's $107 million (U.S. $93 million)in 1990 sales occurred outside of Canada. The firm created NordionEurope last year by acquiring assets of Belgium's Institut Nationaldes Radioelements.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Eastman Kodak's Jamieson Film subsidiary acquired VanguardInstrument this month. Vanguard, a Melville, NY, manufacturerof projectors for cardiac catheterization procedures, will berun as a separate subsidiary. Jamieson is a supplier of film processorsfor cardiac cath labs. It was purchased by Kodak last year.

The Vanguard acquisition will allow Kodak to offer completeimaging systems for the cardiac cath market, said Joseph C. Barry,general manager for cardiology in the film vendor's Health Sciencesdivision.