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Lonza to Buy Transfection Technology Shop Amaxa In Bid to Bolster Cell-Discovery Unit

Swiss life-science company Lonza this week said it plans to acquire German transfection technologies shop Amaxa for an undisclosed amount in a bid to strengthen its cell discovery business.
Amaxa markets nucleic acid transfection systems and consumables to academia and drug makers. The company’s nucleofection technology is a transfection method that it claims can improve the efficiency of transfection and facilitates the reproducible transfer of DNA, RNA, peptides, proteins, and small molecules into difficult-to-transfect cells, according to Claus-Dietmar Pein, Amaxa’s director of marketing.
Amaxa’s lineup comprises two nucleofection instruments: the Nucleofector, which uses a single cuvette to enable non-viral transfection of difficult-to-transfect cells, and the 96-well Shuttle, a high-throughput extension of the Nucleofector.
The company also sells nucleofection kits for primary cells, cell lines, and parasites, and an siRNA kit.
Lonza manufactures and sells primary cells and cell culture products. The acquisition creates one of the few companies that sells cells, cell culture products, and a transfection technology for difficult-to-transfect cells under one roof.
“Together, we can expand the joined offering in the cell discovery market segments,” Lonza spokesperson Dominik Werner told CBA News in an e-mail this week.
The deal is expected to close during the third quarter after receiving approval from European anti-trust officials. At that time, Amaxa’s headquarters in Cologne will become a product development site for Lonza’s cell discovery business, which is part of the company’s Bioscience division. R&D activities at Cologne will "supplement” cell-discovery R&D activities that currently take place at Lonza’s Walkersville, Md., location, said Werner.

“The expectation is that the overall growth of both companies will minimize any potential need for layoffs.”

Asked about corporate restructuring following the acquisition, Werner said that “while there may be synergies between the two businesses that affect current positions, the expectation is that the overall growth of both companies will minimize any potential need for layoffs.” 
According to Pein, the sale will also fulfill a request by some Amaxa customers who want the company to expand into the broader transfection market.
“Our customers value our technology, services, and support, and asked Amaxa to widen [its] offerings to [include] areas around transfection, such as cells, cell culture, and assays, to provide complete application solutions,” Pein told CBA News in an e-mail this week.
“With the financial power of Lonza, we will be able to expand the use of nucleofection to a wider range of applications,” he added.
The global transfection market was worth around $155 million in 2007, and is growing at an annual rate of approximately 9.5 percent, Werner said. He added that the market for primary and difficult-to-transfect cell transfection is currently valued at around $42 million.
Financial details of the acquisition were not released.

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