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Origene Buys Blue Heron

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Origene Technologies late Thursday announced it has purchased gene synthesis firm Blue Heron Biotechnology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999 and based in Bothell, Wash., Blue Heron supplied synthetic DNA fragments to the J. Craig Venter Institute to develop the first synthetic cell. In a statement, Origene said that Blue Heron supplies Synthetic DNA to most of the top-20 pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world.

"Origene's complete collection of human cDNA clones together with Blue Heron's gene synthesis capacity provides a whole product solution for the life sciences community, including product offerings such as protein and antibody optimization," Origene said.
Based in Rockville, Md., Origene develops genetics tools including materials for gene cloning and gene expression. During recent months, the privately owned firm has been busy forging partnerships and building its footprint.

The purchase of Blue Heron is the second acquisition by Origene in the past year, following its purchase of Marligen Biosciences in October. Marligen sells DNA and RNA purification kits, multiplex assays for genotyping, microRNA profiling, and transcription factor activity analysis.

In addition, this past spring, Origene announced a co-marketing agreement with Hitachi Software Engineering America that covers Origene's multiplex assays and Hitachi's MasterPlex software for the analysis and reporting of multiplex assay data. And before that, the firm entered into a collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology to create a proteotypic Peptide Atlas and a mass spectrometry standard database for 5,000 human proteins.

Origene's purchase of Blue Heron is also the third significant deal in the synthetic biology space in recent months, following Life Technologies' purchase of a majority stake in Geneart in May and its equity investment in Synthetic Genomics in June.