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Qiagen Acquires Biobase Assets

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen has purchased the assets of Biobase, a Wolfenbüttel, Germany-based provider of curated biological databases, for an undisclosed sum.

Qiagen said that Biobase will be renamed Qiagen Wolfenbüttel. Also, Michael Tysiak, BioBase's CEO, will join Qiagen as general manager of the newly purchased company.

Founded in 2007, Biobase provides access to curated data assembled by subject matter experts and organized in an accessible and easy to search manner. Its databases support projects focused on functional and gene regulation analyses, variant annotation, pharmacogenetics-based analysis, and more.

Among its repositories are the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD), which offers access to information on inherited disease mutations; GenomeTrac, which contains data on pathogenic variants; the PharmacoGenomic Mutation Database, which serves as a resource for locating variants that affect drug response; and the Transcription Factor Binding Sites database, which contains information on eukaryotic transcription factors and miRNAs. The company offers free versions of these to academia — and will continue to do so — and priced versions that are licensed to industry.

Qiagen said that it will continue to market these databases as standalone solutions, and it will also integrate the content they contain into its existing portfolio of informatics solutions including the Ingenuity Knowledgebase, the database of biological interactions and functional annotation information that underlie all the software in Ingenuity's product line. Ingenuity was renamed Qiagen Redwood City after it was bought by Qiagen last year for $105 million.

The Biobase information will also benefit Ingenuity Clinical, a new web-based decision support system for clinical next-generation sequencing tests, which is currently being tested in 20 clinical laboratories as part of an early access program, Qiagen said. As reported by BioInform, the list of testers includes Partners Healthcare, Emory Genetics Laboratory, and GeneDx. Meanwhile, data from the HGMD is already available to customers of Ingenuity Variant Analysis, one of the software assets Qiagen gained through its acquisition of Ingenuity.

With this acquisition, "Qiagen is strategically addressing customers' needs to interpret the massive amounts of data generated by NGS," Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement, adding that the content which Biobase provides will extend the firm's "competitive advantage" in the market for clinical interpretation of sequence data.

"Interpretation of sequencing data requires access to high-quality, expert-curated content to be able to quickly and reliably assess the most up-to-date information about variants and associated phenotypes from sequencing data," Madhuri Hegde, executive director of Emory Genetics Laboratory, noted in the Qiagen statement. "Integrating Biobase content offerings such as HGMD and PGMD into Qiagen's growing informatics portfolio and leveraging it with … tools like Ingenuity Variant Analysis and Ingenuity Clinical will be invaluable to clinical labs launching sequence-based diagnostic tests."

In addition to Biobase and Qiagen Redwood City, Qiagen also owns Aarhus, Denmark-based bioinformatics firm CLC Bio. It acquired the company last year for an undisclosed sum.