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Life Technologies Completes Ion Torrent Acquisition

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies has completed its acquisition of Ion Torrent for $375 million in cash and stock.

The total value of the deal could rise by another $350 million if certain technical and time-based milestones are met through 2012.

The acquisition adds Ion Torrent's semiconductor chip-based sequencing platform, which measures the release of hydrogen ions as nucleotides get incorporated by DNA polymerase. Unlike other existing second-generation sequencers, it does not require lasers, cameras, or labels.

The first system based on the technology is the Personal Genome Machine sequencer, which will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year.

Life Technologies said that the transaction is expected to be $.02 dilutive to its earnings per share in 2010, neutral in 2011, and accretive in 2012 and beyond. The firm said that its EPS forecast for this year is unchanged at $3.35 to $3.50.

At the time the acquisition was announced in August, John Sullivan, director of equity research at investment bank Leerink Swann, said in a research note that Life Technologies is paying "a full price, given the commercial risks, but Ion Torrent's technology looks differentiated."

But Life Technologies CEO Greg Lucier defended the potential $725 million purchase price two weeks ago at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference, saying that Ion Torrent's technology will help make sequencing technology available for different applications and for users that otherwise may not have access to it. According to Lucier, the technology could "revolutionize the whole genetic testing market."

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