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Qiagen quickens acquisition pace: Purchases of Nextal, SuNyx and LumiCyte broaden pre-analytical sample prep lines
August 2005
by Chris Anderson  |  Email the author


VENLO, The Netherlands—Qiagen N.V. continued its recent acquisition spree, in June and earlier this month, with the acquisition of three companies whose products filled holes in the company's pre-analytical sample preparation line. The late June purchase of Montreal-based Nextal Biotechnologies provides a foothold in the protein crystallography market, while the combination of recent acquisitions of SuNyx GmbH and LumiCyte Inc. address sample prep in the MALDI market.
"Since we want to be the leader in pre-analytical biomolecule handling, we need to move away from doing only DNA and RNA samples," says Dr. Ulrich Schriek, vice president of corporate business development for Qiagen. "We have done an assessment and protein crystallization prior to X-ray was one of the top opportunities we identified."
Further, Schriek notes, Qiagen polled scientists in the field about their preferences in protein crystallography sample prep and Nextal came out head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. "We called about 25 customers and everybody was referencing the new Nextal product," he says.
Purchase price of privately-held Nextal was $9.7 million cash for all outstanding capital stock of the company, with an additional $4.5 million available for reaching specific milestones.
Further, the two companies are a good fit since they share a similar philosophy of how to provide their products to the market. "Nextal product development is very similar to what we are doing—pre-dispensed reagents in plastic devices for one-time usage," Schriek says.
Qiagen plans to keep the 24 former employees of Nextal at their Montreal offices and will continue manufacture of the Nextal product at that location, as well. In addition to the products themselves, Qiagen also picked up IP related to the pre-filling of Nextal's devices that may potentially have applications to other Qiagen products.
With the purchase, Qiagen now can provide a comprehensive protein product line that encompasses standardized cloning, expression, purification and crystallization.
Just four weeks later, Qiagen announced the dual acquisition of specific assets from Fremont, Calif.-based LumiCyte Inc. and German company SuNyx GmbH.
Key to these deals was the acquisition of LumiCyte's STS (Surface Tension Segmented)-Biochip, which allows samples such as peptides and proteins to be separted into classes and concentrated on-chip. The acquired technologies provide products to Qiagen in both the MALDI-MS and LC-MALDI analysis markets.
In late May, Qiagen also purchased the assets of artus, a provider of PCR-based molecular diagnostic tests for pathogenic, genotyping and pharmacogenomic testing.
Despite this rush of activity, Qiagen may not be ready to take an acquisition breather. "What you are seeing now is the result of strategic goals the company set last year, to be the leading company for innovative solutions in pre-analytical sample preparation for any molecule and any biological sample," says Dr. Solveigh Mahler, director of investor relations. "We have quite a bit of cash available, so we will continue to look for innovative companies that can help us."
Code: E080510



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