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Genomic Solutions, PerkinElmer Heal Rift, Sell GeneTac to Indian Institute of Science

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In the first joint sale announced since their $5.5 million legal settlement, Genomic Solutions and PerkinElmer announced they had sold the GeneTac biochip system to the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India.

The institute will use the major robotic component, the G3 Library Management System for colony picking, arraying, gridding, and storing DNA microarrays into a database. The GeneTac HybStation, which has not yet been shipped, will be used to hybridize microarrays, and the GeneTac LS IV laser imager will scan arrays for image analysis.

GeneTac, which the companies say is the only complete BAC-to-Image arraying system available, sells for between $200,000 and $300,000, Genomic Solutions said.

PerkinElmer Life Sciences, which is Genomic Solutions’ exclusive distribution partner for marketing outside the US and Japan, led the sale of the system to the Indian Institute. “This sale is a sign that we have strengthened the relationship between PerkinElmer and Genomic Solutions,” said Christine Ethier, Genomic Solutions’ vice president of international business.

This is the first joint sale announced since the two companies’ April 19 settlement, in which Genomic Solutions granted UK distribution rights of its products to PerkinElmer, and agreed to buy back 69 percent of PerkinElmer’s 5.2 percent equity stake in the company for $5.5 million, terminating PerkinElmer’s call right to Genomic Solutions shares as well as control of the company.

The right, which PerkinElmer acquired under Genomic Solutions’ terms of incorporation, gave PerkinElmer an option to become the sole shareholder in Genomic Solutions. PerkinElmer had initiated the lawsuit back in February, alleging that Genomic Solutions’ proposed transaction with an unnamed third party, which analysts said amounted to a merger agreement, would effectively eliminate PerkinElmer’s call right.

Genomic Solutions said in a conference call shortly after the settlement that its first-quarter revenues had been hurt due to weak sales in Europe and Asia, where PerkinElmer has been its distribution partner.

But CEO Jeffrey Williams assured investors that the stronger distribution agreement it had forged with Perkin Elmer, which includes minimum requirements on sales, would help to ameliorate these problems.

As part of this new relationship with PerkinElmer, Genomic Solutions appointed Ethier, who had formerly headed up its proteomics division, to serve as the full-time executive liason between the two companies. Now the PerkinElmer sales force deals with Ethier, rather than having to wait in line behind US reps to contact the general sales office. “Them knowing they have me to come to has been very helpful,” said Ethier.

Ethier is also managing the transition of the company’s five-person UK sales team, who will officially become PerkinElmer employees based in the company’s Cambridge UK office, at the end of a 120-day “transition period.” Ethier is optimistic that this apparent loss of marketing muscle will actually benefit Genomic Solutions in the long run, since it will allow PerkinElmer European and UK reps to work as one integrated sales force.

Already, Ethier said that PerkinElmer reps are expected to close deals for sales of Genomic Solutions equipment worth about $1 million in revenue this quarter. “We’ve had possibly half a dozen trainings in the past six to eight months for the PerkinElmer folks, and they are beginning to fill the pipeline now,” Ethier said.

— MMJ

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