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Qiagen Spins Out DNA Business to Managers

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Qiagen last week said that it had sold its synthetic DNA business for $24.3 million to a management team of former employees.

The spin-out company, Operon Biotechnologies, has operations in the US, Germany, and Japan. Qiagen, which will receive $17.8 million in cash and $6.5 million as a promissory note, retains a 16 percent minority stake in the company.

Qiagen’s siRNA business will not be part of the spin-out, and the company will keep its TOM-amidite chemistry. Qiagen will have preferred access to Operon’s manufacturing capacities and preferred purchasing rights to its products. In addition, it will have exclusive rights to Operon’s capacities for contract manufacturing of siRNA products.

Qiagen’s synthetic DNA business unit has been focusing on custom oligonucleotides and shelf products such as oligo sets for microarrays. The unit expanded in 2000, when Qiagen acquired Operon Technologies of Alameda, Calif., and in 2001, when it purchased the Sawady Group in Tokyo.

— MMJ

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