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Affy Acquires Microparticle Firm for $25M; Plans to Shutter West Sacramento Facility

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Affymetrix today said that it has paid around $25 million in cash to acquire a company that is developing microparticle technology for use in diagnostic applications.
Affy did not disclose the name of the privately held firm, but said it is based in San Francisco and is developing a digitally encoded microparticle technology that will enable the array manufacturer “to enter low to mid-multiplex markets and compete with bead-based platforms.” Affy said that the technology is also applicable to the research, applied, and diagnostic markets.
In a conference call today to discuss the company's second-quarter earnings, Steve Fodor, Affy's chairman and CEO, said the technology "is more scalable and cost effective than bead-based approaches." It uses digital microparticles to carry out assays in solution, he said, and is "capable of multiplexing tests ranging up to several thousand markers."

Fodor noted that the acquired firm is a very small company, and will "only add a few people" to Affy's headcount.

"We anticipate that product development activity will be folded into current Affymetrix activity, and we are not looking at a big expense increase," he said. He added that the company expects to have the acquired technology on the market by early 2009. 

In addition, Affy said that it has decided to close its West Sacramento, Calif., manufacturing facility in an expansion of a restructuring plan it disclosed in March, which called for moving the “majority” of its probe array manufacturing from West Sacramento to the firm's Singapore facility by the end of the year.  

Under the expanded restructuring plan, Affy said it will move all of its manufacturing operations to Singapore and Cleveland, Ohio, and that the West Sacramento facility will be closed by the end of the second quarter of 2009.
Affy expects to incur a total of approximately $42 million in charges related to the expansion of the restructuring plan -- $26 million during the remainder of fiscal 2008 and around $16 million in 2009. 

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