LBT Innovations enters joint venture with Hettich

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 26 June, 2013

Adelaide medical technology company LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT) has agreed to form a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Swiss lab instrument company Hettich.

The joint venture will be incorporated to oversee commercial development and distribution of LBT’s second product, the Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS), a platform used for the automation of agar plate screening and sorting.

Under the terms of the deal, Hettich will pay LBT $2 million up front and will inject another $4 million into the JV in stages based on performance milestones.

LBT will license its APAS intellectual property to the JV but will retain ownership. The company will also provide the JV with ongoing support and software upgrades.

“A key milestone in the life of an innovation company is when its second product is successfully launched into the market and, with the help of Hettich AG Switzerland, we will soon achieve this important event,” LBT chairman Bob Finder said.

LBT CEO Lusia Guthrie added that the JV agreement is better than a straight licensing deal, “as it will entitle LBT to an equal share in profits and royalties ... as well as a much greater say in long-term [APAS] development and marketing.”

APAS is designed to improve lab screening by automatically weeding out negative culture plate samples, allowing practitioners to focus on the positive samples.

LBT Innovations shares climbed 25% on Tuesday to $0.075 after the JV agreement was announced. The shares were trading unchanged as of around 12 pm on Wednesday.

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