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Merger Between PE, Third Wave Collapses Because of Slow Approval Process


MADISON, Wis.--PE Biosystems and privately-held Third Wave Technologies have agreed to terminate their merger agreement that was announced in January because the US government approval was taking too long. Both companies will continue to collaborate.


PE was going to buy Third Wave for 1.972 million shares of PE Biosystems Group stock in a deal valued at $330 million.


Third Wave’s flagship product is its Invader nucleic acid detection technology that is used for analyzing single-nucleotide polymorphisms. The company develops and provides DNA and RNA analysis technologies and products for use in research, pharmacogenomics, and clinical applications.


Lance Fors, Third Wave’s president and CEO, said that as the approval process dragged on, both companies decided it would be in their best interests to cancel the merger.


The merger was hampering Third Wave from collaborating with PE because companies involved in a merger are required to operate as two discrete businesses, he said.


“It was very frustrating that we couldn’t have executed plan A, the merger, but now we’re going to execute plan B, which is to work closely with PE to commercialize the technology,” said Fors. Based on conversations with customers, Third Wave believes that the market for its technology will increase between five- and ten-fold in the next 12 months.


Jay Rhodes, a PE Biosystems spokesman, said that PE still has access to Third Wave’s technology and remains interested in working with the company. “We think the best way to pursue our goals is as separate companies,” he said.

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