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Invitrogen Invests $3.4M in Illumina, Gains Oligator Marketing Rights

This article has been updated from a previous version to include comments from company officials.


NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (GenomeWeb News) - Invitrogen and Illumina today announced a collaboration to distribute Illumina's Oligator DNA synthesis technology through Invitrogen's marketing channels.


Under the terms of the agreement, Invitrogen will invest $3.4 million in Illumina's San Diego, Calif., facility to extend Illumina's Oligator technology into tube-based oligonucleotide products and to transfer the technology to two Invitrogen facilities outside North America.


The companies said that they expect to transition all responsibility for sales, marketing, and technical support for the Oligator products to Invitrogen over the "next several quarters" while Illumina builds its capability to manufacture tube-based oligos.


Revenues from the products will be split equally between the two companies.


In a conference call following the announcement, Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier pegged the market for oligonucleotide synthesis as "somewhere north of $300 million."


Jay Flatley, Illumina's president and CEO, said that the company's Oligator technology is currently capable of producing tube-based oligos, but that selling to the worldwide market requires a much larger sales team than what Illumina currently has for its oligos. Illumina has "had great success in the plate-based oligo business, but this market is actually much smaller than the tube-based segment - approximately by a factor of four," he said.


Lucier noted that Invitrogen's current oligo business is 80 percent tube-based and 20 percent plate-based, while most of Illumina's business was plates, not tubes.

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