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Qiagen Acquires Australia's Corbett for RT-PCR Platform; Deal Worth up to $135M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen said today that it has acquired Corbett Life Science, a privately held life sciences instrumentation firm based in Sydney, Australia, in a transaction worth up to $135 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen said it will pay approximately $66 million in cash, $4 million in restricted common stock and milestone payments, and “other contingencies” of up to $65 million over the next four years.
Corbett is the developer of a rotary real-time PCR cycler system called Rotor-Gene, which “extends Qiagen’s molecular testing solution portfolio ... from sample to result,” the company said.
In a statement, Qiagen said that it has a “leading position” in the first two steps of molecular testing — sample-preparation and assay setup — but has historically relied on partnerships with various vendors, including Corbett, for the third step in the process, detection.
“As such, Qiagen’s instruments, consumables, and a number of regulated tests are already optimized for use with Corbett instruments,” the company said. So far, there are more than 30 Qiagen assays optimized for the Rotor-Gene PCR cycler.
Qiagen added that it will continue to pursue an “open platform strategy” to offer tests for use on third-party detection systems, but plans to “significantly increase the focus of new developments of its regulated tests, platforms, and testing technologies for use with the Rotor-Gene and successor systems” that are currently in development.
The Rotor-Gene is based on a proprietary centrifugal rotary design and has a broad optical range, with six channels spanning UV to infra-red wavelengths. Qiagen said that the system has “near-perfect well-to-well thermal and optical uniformity and a fast data acquisition rate.”
Qiagen said it expects to incur one-time charges of around $.02 in earnings per share in the third quarter of 2008 as a result of the acquisition.
The company expects the acquisition to contribute around $14 million in sales in the second half of 2008 and approximately $40 million in sales for the full year of 2009.
Qiagen said the acquisition should be dilutive by approximately $.02 to earnings per share in the second half of 2008 and to be neutral in 2009. Beyond 2009, Qiagen expects the acquisition to contribute “significant accretion” to net income.
Corbett Life Science founders John Corbett Senior and John Corbett Junior will both assume advisory roles at Qiagen.

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