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Looking to Grow Agbio Business, Neogen Buys GeneSeek for $13.8M

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By Justin Petrone

Neogen, a food and livestock safety diagnostics firm, last week bought agricultural genetics provider GeneSeek through a stock purchase valued at roughly $13.8 million. The full price for GeneSeek, which had revenues of approximately $12.5 million last year, will depend on contingent payments based on its performance, Neogen said.

Lincoln, Neb.-based GeneSeek is an Illumina-certified service provider, and uses the firm's Infinium BeadChips in its agricultural research services for genetic improvement, identity management, and disease management. Specifically, GeneSeek offers the San Diego array vendor's iSelect menu of chips for human, bovine, canine, equine, ovine, porcine, and maize studies. Additionally, GeneSeek offers genotyping on the Sequenom MassArray platform.

GeneSeek was the first and is so far the only Illumina-certified genotyping lab dedicated to animal agribusiness and veterinary medicine. GeneSeek's services are used by the agricultural industry to make selective breeding decisions and by researchers to discover genes and haplotypes that predict trait and disease predisposition.

The capabilities tie in with two arms of Lansing, Mich.-based Neogen's business: its animal safety division, which markets diagnostics, veterinary instruments, pharmaceuticals, and related tools; and its food safety division, which offers testing for bacteria, allergens, drugs, and plant diseases.

"Neogen has added to its genomic capability during the past year to speed the development of food and animal safety diagnostic tests, as well as develop novel intervention tools to solve food and animal safety problems," Neogen Chairman and CEO James Herbert said in a statement. "The addition of GeneSeek provides a significant, immediate advancement in this capability." The company said that it expects to retain all of GeneSeek's 36 employees in its current facilities.

Abe Oommen, GeneSeek's president, said in a statement that the firm has "grown to the point where it makes sense for our shareholders and employees to join a larger company with the resources to continue this growth and expand our market opportunities."

Calls and e-mails to both Neogen and GeneSeek requesting comment on the acquisition were not returned in time for this publication. Neogen did not discuss the acquisition during its fiscal third-quarter earnings call on March 29.

The acquisition should raise GeneSeek's global profile. While GeneSeek has maintained a European presence with an office in Nottingham, UK, since 2007, Neogen maintains offices in the UK, Mexico, Brazil, and China.

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