Life sciences firm GBS has signed an exclusivity agreement to acquire Intelligent Fingerprinting (IFP), a spin-out company from the University of East Anglia based in Cambridge, England.

IFP has developed a drug screening system, which is a 10-minute on-the-spot test that analyses fingerprint sweat to detect recent drug usage.

The non-invasive system includes a portable reader and single-use disposable cartridges that can be utilised in a variety of settings, including workplaces, drug rehabilitation, criminal justice, and medical examiners.

If completed, the deal will allow GBS to further strengthen its position as a creator of rapid non-invasive diagnostic solutions outside of saliva, while also speeding revenue growth through a broader test suite.

Furthermore, GBS will also gain access to the complete IFP product portfolio, its present client base, and an ISO 13485 production plant in the UK.

The firm is also developing its facility at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

GBS interim chief executive officer Dr Steven Boyages said: “By potentially combining Intelligent Fingerprinting’s leadership position as a revolutionary point of care fingerprint sweat-based drug screening technology with our saliva-based glucose biosensor platform and manufacturing expertise, GBS would be able to serve a wider spectrum of patients at the point of care across global diagnostic markets.

“We believe that this acquisition if consummated, could provide us with a clear opportunity to build long-term shareholder value, accelerate revenue growth for both parties through an expanded portfolio of tests, and allow GBS to further solidify its leadership as a developer of rapid non-invasive diagnostic solutions outside of saliva while accelerating revenue growth.”

Upon completion of the deal, GBS expects to use its experience to approach the international exporting of its products. IFP has been exploring export opportunities in a number of territories.

GBS said that the model used to capture international sales has been via specialist distributors or agents, supported from a technical aspect via a dedicated customer services team based in the UK.

Leveraging the strategy, IFP identified distribution partners and made early sales in nations across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

The agreement grants GBS the exclusive right to analyse and negotiate a transaction to acquire IFP or its assets until 31 December 2022.

IFP executive chairman Philip Hand said: “Abuse of opioids and other substances continues to be a growing concern for both commercial and public sector organisations around the world.

“To help address this, we are focused on taking the Intelligent Fingerprinting business forward to the next stage by expanding our footprint and developing into other key areas of medical diagnostics.

“This agreement will allow us to increase liquidity in working capital for both commercial activities and sales growth.”

Ladenburg Thalmann & Co served as a financial advisor and ArentFox Schiff is acting as legal advisor to GBS on the transaction. Bristows is acting as a legal advisor to IFP.