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Asterand to Acquire BioSeek

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – UK-based Asterand today said that it will acquire BioSeek, a developer of cell-based assay systems, in a deal worth up to $14 million.

Asterand, which provides tissue-based services for drug discovery, said that the acquisition will provide it with highly complementary technologies, specifically BioSeek's BioMap platform and human cell-based assays.

The UK firm will pay an initial $1 million for South San Francisco, Calif.-based BioSeek. It may pay up to an additional $13 million in 2011, depending on BioSeek's sales for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2010. The first $3 million of such additional payment would be made in Asterand stock, with the additional amount paid in either cash or shares at Asterand's discretion.

"The combination of this platform with Asterand's exceptional sales and marketing team will propel performance for the product line to a new level," Martyn Coombs, CEO of Asterand, said in a statement. "We anticipate that the proposed acquisition will be marginally loss-making or break-even in the first year of our ownership and will increasingly contribute to earnings thereafter."

Asterand said that it intends to maintain BioSeek's site in California, as well as its 14 employees, including the senior management team. BioSeek CEO Mike Venuti will serve as a consultant to Asterand for a transition period following completion of the deal.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, privately held BioSeek had revenues of $3.2 million and a pre-tax los of $4.1 million.

The deal is subject to the approval of Asterand's shareholders, among other conditions.

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