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Qiagen Spins Out DNA Business in Management Buyout; New Company Called Operon Biotechnologies

NEW YORK, July 1 (GenomeWeb News) - Qiagen has sold its synthetic DNA business for $24.3 million to a management team of former employees, the company said yesterday.


The spin-out company, Operon Biotechnologies, has operations in the US, Germany, and Japan. Qiagen, which will receives $17.8 million in cash and $6.5 million as a promissory note, retains a 16 percent minority stake in the company.


Qiagen's siRNA business will not be part of the spin-out, and the company will keep its TOM-amidite chemistry. Qiagen will have preferred access to Operon's manufacturing capacities and preferred purchasing rights to its products. In addition, it will have exclusive rights to Operon's capacities for contract manufacturing of siRNA products.


Qiagen's synthetic DNA business unit has been focusing on custom oligonucleotides and shelf products such as oligo sets for microarrays. The unit expanded in 2000, when Qiagen acquired Operon Technologies of Alameda, Calif., and in 2001, when it purchased the Sawady Group in Tokyo.


Peer Schatz, CEO of Qiagen, said in a statement that although the business was profitable last year, "...we believe that the market dynamics and strategic directions this business is moving into have become different in nature compared to the markets and path Qiagen intends to focus on."

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