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SNPs Long-Lost Companies Reassembled

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Orchid BioSciences’ latest acquisition was a reunion of sorts. The company recently negotiated a stock deal to buy Lifecodes, whose niche is paternity and forensics genomic identity testing. Lifecodes owns the US division of Cellmark, which was split off from its original company about six years ago. The other part, Cellmark UK, was previously acquired by Orchid.

“We’ve been investing significantly in the next generation of technologies for looking at genetic diversity,” says Orchid CEO Dale Pfost, adding that the aim is pharmaceutical and healthcare applications of SNP scoring. The addition of Lifecodes, Orchid’s fourth acquisition, means the company now has “the critical mass to assemble Orchid Diagnostics,” Pfost says. With this unit and other Lifecodes assets, he expects the company’s overall revenue to double by next year to more than $50 million — $15 million is slated to come from the diagnostics unit alone.

— Meredith Salisbury