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Gemini, Sequenom Shareholders Approve Merger; September Close Sought

NEW YORK, Aug. 24 – Shareholders of UK-based Gemini Genomics and US-based Sequenom have approved the firms’ plans to merge, the companies said on Thursday.

The combined company, which will retain the name Sequenom, must still obtain approval from the High Court of Justice in England and Wales. The companies anticipate the deal to close at the end of September.

In May, Sequenom, of San Diego, said that it had agreed to acquire Gemini Genomics, of Cambridge, for $238 million in stock in an effort to boost its drug-development and clinical capabilities.  

As GenomeWeb reported , Sequenom plans to split the new company into two business units--Sequenom Genomics, made up of Sequenom's MassArray SNP genotyping equipment business, and Sequenom Biotherapeutics, which will include Sequenom's drug target-discovery operations and all of Gemini Genomics' clinical genomics operations. 

Sequenom and Gemini Genomics have already identified 115 candidate disease genes using population genetics and SNP genotyping. By the middle of next year, Sequenom said, the initiative's leaders hope to have identified 400 such candidate genes.

"With the recent release of information about the human genome into the public domain, it is clearer than ever that the race to diagnostic and disease gene-based drug target discovery and commercialization is time-limited," Paul Kelly, president and CEO of Gemini Genomics, said in a statement. "This merger will enable our combined organization to move more rapidly in the ongoing endeavor of identifying the medical relevance of genomic data."

Under the transaction, holders of Gemini Genomics’ ordinary shares will receive 0.2000 of a share of newly issued Sequenom common stock in exchange for each ordinary share of Gemini Genomics, the companies said in a statement on Thursday. Holders of Gemini Genomics American Depository Shares will get 0.4000 of a share of newly issue Sequenom common stock in exchange for each Gemini Genomics ADS.

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