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ABI Hands Off Celera Dx Stake to Celera Genomics for $30M, Obtains Rights to Dx Instrument Sales

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 (GenomeWeb News) - Applied Biosystems has transferred its 50-percent stake in Celera Diagnostics to Celera Genomics in exchange for a "package of considerations" including $30 million in cash, the Applera companies said today.


Additional terms of the agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, call for ABI to gain the right to sell instrument platforms to end-user diagnostic customers, a field previously reserved for Celera Diagnostics. ABI said that it expects its entry into the clinical diagnostic instrumentation market to increase revenue and margin.


In addition, Celera Genomics will provide certain R&D and regulatory support to ABI at cost, including assistance in developing new PCR reagents and clinical diagnostic instruments.  Celera Genomics will also forgive future royalties due through 2017 on sales of select ABI products, the companies said.


Applera said that the deal is not expected to be material to ABI's 2006 financial results.


Celera Diagnostics was formed in 2001 as a joint venture equally owned by ABI and Celera Genomics. The transfer of ownership is aimed to provide investors with "a direct means to invest in the growing diagnostics business," Tony White, Applera's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement.


Celera Diagnostics counts among its products the HIV-1 ViroSeq Genotyping System, analyte-specific reagents used to detect genetic mutations associated with cystic fibrosis, and ASRs used for hepatitis C viral load monitoring and genotyping. These products are sold through an ongoing alliance with Abbott Laboratories.


As part of the restructuring, Applera also said it has restructured this alliance with Abbott, in which the companies will continue to work together exclusively through a profit-sharing agreement in "most areas of molecular diagnostics," while separately working outside the alliance in other selected areas.

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