Case Study: Biofire Diagnostics

Biofire Diagnostics logo


Founded in 1990 and formerly known as Idaho Technology, Inc., Biofire Diagnostics, Inc. was a privately-held clinical diagnostics company headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT. The Company manufactured, marketed, and distributed FilmArray, its proprietary diagnostic system. FilmArray uses PCR technology to test for different disease targets across multiple panels such as respiratory, blood culture ID and gastrointestinal.

In September 2012, Athyrium committed $25M of capital to BioFire, becoming the first institutional investor in the Company. Less than seven months later, in March 2013, Athyrium provided an additional commitment of $20M for a total investment of $45M to support the accelerated growth of its FilmArray platform.

Structured Investment – Flexible Expansion Capital

At the time of our initial discussions, BioFire was seeking capital to support its FilmArray commercial launch and to develop other disease panels in its pipeline. Since BioFire was bootstrapped from inception, the management team had significant ownership in the Company and was therefore sensitive to dilution. Furthermore, the management team did not wish to forgo company control to the incoming investor. As such, the Company sought a flexible, long-term financing partner in order to support its future expansion while minimizing equity dilution.

In September 2012, Athyrium provided the Company with a $25M structured financing solution that was both flexible for the Company’s growth needs and had limited dilution. The financing package included a five-year bullet repay senior secured term loan (with minimal covenants) and warrants. Athyrium was also a passive investor with no Board seats. Athyrium believed that this financing approach provided the long-term capital to allow the Company to grow the business while retaining the operating flexibility it had desired.

Biofire – Growth and Subsequent Investment

The $25M initial investment allowed BioFire to increase the market penetration of its FilmArray system. Favorable reception of FilmArray in the medical community also drove higher volume usage among the existing customers. As its growth outpaced its expectations, BioFire needed additional capital. In March 2013, Athyrium provided another $20M to the Company on the same flexible terms.

In May and June 2013, BioFire received respective approvals from the EMA and the FDA for its 27-target blood culture identification panel, which then was the most comprehensive test approved by the FDA.

In July 2013, BioFire initiated a clinical study to evaluate its 23-target gastrointestinal panel, with plans to launch in both the US and Europe in H2 2014.


On September 4, 2013, bioMérieux SA announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of BioFire for a $450M acquisition price plus BioFire’s net financial debt. After government approvals, the merger closed on January 16, 2014. Athyrium’s term loan was repaid and warrants exercised.