US-based medical technology company CardioNet has followed through on its declared intention to enter the clinical research arena by acquiring cardiac monitoring specialist Biotel in a transaction worth around US$14 million.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, CardioNet will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Biotel common stock at a price of US$4.82 per share in cash. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2009.

CardioNet’s initial focus has been on the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias using its flagship Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT) solution. As chairman, president and chief executive officer Randy Thurman pointed out, the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based company has previously identified clinical services as “a natural and strategic extension of our business”, both for its existing cardiac monitoring service and for potential new monitoring markets.

The acquisition of Biotel fulfils this function as well as expanding CardioNet’s product portfolio to offer what it claims is the most comprehensive array of options for the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias.

Included in the deal is Biotel’s wholly-owned subsidiary Agility Centralized Research Services, based in Chicago (Biotel’s headquarters are in Eagan, Minnesota). Agility provides event, Holter and ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring services to the medical device and pharmaceutical industries as well as to contract and academic research organisations worldwide.

There is strong demand for cardiac monitoring in the clinical research setting and “the continuous wireless monitoring provided by MCOT is ideally suited for the reliable collection and analysis of ECG data for patients participating in clinical trials”, Thurman commented.