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A Year Later, Invitrogen Is Still Hungry for Companies to Acquire

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7 - Still hungry for acquisitions but keeping its mouth clamped tight about possible targets, Invitrogen displayed a slightly different face to investors here at the JPMorgan Annual Healthcare Conference.

 

Last year, Lyle Turner amiably announced to a roomful of investors that Invitrogen was looking for proteomics and informatics companies to acquire. At the time it had $1 billion in cash to seal any deals.

 

A year later, Turner is out as CEO, the company had a $626 million war chest as of September, and mum's the word on what might be acquired, and when.

 

"Acquisition is a very important part of our growth strategy," president and interim CEO James Glynn affirmed yesterday to a roomful of biotech investors. He even said that a protein-production capability was on the short list for resources to get by buying rather than building.

 

So what about, say, Panvera, a maker of recombinant proteins and fluorescence-polarization assays? Last month, a source told GenomeWeb that Panvera, owned by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, was to be bought by Invitrogen.

 

"We don't comment on acquisitions," said Glynn.

 

He also did not offer any dollar amounts for what the company may use for acquisitions in 2003.

 

What numbers he did provide were for when a new CEO might be found: sometime between 60 and 120 days. The company was just now finalizing selection of a search firm, said Glynn.

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