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Stratagene Plans to Reabsorb Now-Independent Iobion Following Hycor Merger

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Gene expression software firm Iobion, spun out of privately held Stratagene two years ago, will be folded back into the larger firm upon its merger with publicly traded Hycor, Stratagene said last week

Stratagene’s merger with diagnostic manufacturer Hycor is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2003. The combined entity, to be named Stratagene, will trade on Nasdaq, generate combined revenues of over $85 million for 2003, and employ around 500 people. Hycor and Iobion will be wholly owned subsidiaries of Stratagene.

Stratagene CEO Joe Sorge told BioInform’s sister publication SNPtech Reporter last week that the decision to “spin in” Iobion was driven by SEC regulations, which discourage inter-company transactions with privately held subsidiaries.

Sorge said that Iobion’s software “dovetails very nicely” with a line of microarray controls and labeling products that the company launched earlier this year.

The two firms began co-developing a software suite in April called IobionLab that will add desktop tools to GeneTraffic, Iobion’s flagship client-server product. IobionLab will contain four new packages: GeneSolve, ProteinSolve, PathwayAssist, and ArrayAssist.

IobionLab is “a product line that the Stratagene sales force now has some confidence that it can begin to sell,” Sorge told SNPtech Reporter. GeneTraffic, which requires a customer to invest in a server and configure it for LAN use “was a different sale than what the Stratagene sales force is used to, and so there wasn’t enough overlap between the typical Stratagene customer base and the Iobion target market,” he said.

Stratagene expects the shrink-wrapped software product line to bridge the two markets, giving the company’s typical catalog customers ready access to Iobion’s bioinformatics expertise.

An Iobion spokesperson told BioInform that the company does not plan to change its product development or sales strategy as a result of the revised relationship with Stratagene.

— BT

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