Pfizer Inc. has acquired Emeryville, Calif.-based Lucira Health Inc. for $36.4 million after the COVID-19 test manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in February.
According to court documents, plastics molders Jabil Inc. and Westfall Technik Inc. were Lucira suppliers.
"Pfizer has agreed to acquire the majority of Lucira's assets, including IP and trademarks, licenses, equipment and inventory and assume certain contracts," a spokesperson for Pfizer told Plastics News in an emailed statement.
The pharmaceutical and biomedical company paid $5 million in cash, "plus the cost to cure payment defaults under certain assumed contracts representing around $31.4 million of additional value to Lucira's bankruptcy estate," the statement said.
Because of demand for COVID-19 testing kits during the pandemic, Lucira grew to have a positive net profit in 2022 for the first time in its history, a Feb. 22 news release by Lucira said.
The company developed a new combination flu and coronavirus test kit and moved forward in manufacturing them to fulfill anticipated demand.
Lucira expected the Food and Drug Administration to issue emergency-use authorization for over-the-counter use in August 2022. But the process took longer than expected, resulting in high expenditures without new revenue during the 2022-23 flu season, leading to the Chapter 11 filing and sale process, the release said.
"The unpredictability of selling into a pandemic made for a very challenging operating environment though collectively, we managed to grow significantly, reached positive net income and drove continued innovation," Erik Engelson, president and CEO of Lucira Health said in the release.
"Unfortunately, as restrictions lessened in 2022, we saw lower demand for COVID-19 tests. Despite every effort to reduce capital outlays and restructure our business, we took this action to protect and maximize the value of our assets," Engelson said.
According to court documents, the kits were made by St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Jabil's Nypro Inc. unit, which had filed a claim of $15.69 million in the Lucira bankruptcy. Jabil will receive $11 million as a result of the Pfizer deal.
AMA Plastics Inc. of Riverside, Calif., also filed a claim in the case, for $2.35 million. Las Vegas-based Westfall Technik bought AMA in 2018.