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Qiagen Plans to Buy Cancer MDx Firm Ipsogen for $101M

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen today announced its intent to acquire molecular diagnostics firm Ipsogen for €70 million ($101 million).

Qiagen has entered into exclusive negotiations with a group of Ipsogen shareholders to purchase about 47 percent of the company's outstanding shares currently held or controlled by company co-founders and board members. After the purchase agreement has been signed and the purchase is completed, Qiagen will begin to acquire all remaining shares of Ipsogen.

Qiagen is paying €12.90 per share to acquire a 47 percent stake in the company and to purchase all remaining shares afterward. The price represents a 71 percent premium to Ipsogen's share price of €7.53 per share on June 13, the last trading day before the deal was announced.

Founded in 1999 and based in Marseille, France, Ipsogen develops PCR-based tests for blood cancers. It currently offers about 80 tests grouped into four assay families — BCR-ABL (chronic myeloid leukemia); JAK2 V617F (various myeloproliferative diseases); PML-RARA (promyelocytic leukemia); and a group of products for a range of rare forms of leukemia.

The tests are used as qualitative assays for the diagnosis of myeloproliferative diseases, and are increasingly being used as a quantitative technology in monitoring therapy. Ipsogen also is developing the Genomic Grade Test, a multi-gene expression test directed at unmet diagnostic needs for women with early invasive hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.

In a statement, Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said that the acquisition of Ipsogen would "further expand our global leadership in molecular assays for profiling and personalized healthcare." Its products "would further increase our leading position in profiling assays as well as in companion diagnostics for personalized healthcare, helping to improve the treatment of many diseases and addressing unmet medical needs."

Almost all of Ipsogen's assays are CE-IVD marked in Europe and can be used on Qiagen's Rotor-Gene Q real-time PCR system, Qiagen said. They can also be migrated onto Qiagen's QIAsymphony RGQ, a sample-to-result laboratory automation platform that includes the Rotor-Gene Q system.

Upon completion of the deal, Ipsogen's Marseille facility would become a global center of excellence within Qiagen with a focus on leukemia and breast cancer. It would also become a center for the development and manufacturing of other molecular tests.

Ipsogen employs 70 people in France and the US. Its three managing co-founders — CEO Vincent Fert, COO Stéphane Debono, and Fabienne Hermitte, its R&D and regulatory affairs senior director — are expected to stay with Qiagen after the closing of the deal.

In 2010, Ipsogen reported net sales of €8.4 million, a 24 percent increase year over year.

Qiagen said that it will fund the deal, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter, with existing cash. The acquisition is expected to be slightly dilutive to adjusted EPS in 2012 and accretive to adjusted EPS in 2013.

Rothschilde and Kempen & Co. are acting as financial advisors and Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier are legal advisors to Qiagen on the deal.

The deal is the second by Qiagen since the start of the year. It currently is waiting to close on its $355 million planned buy of Cellestis.