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Illumina Acquires BlueGnome

This article has been updated with comments from company officials.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina today announced that it has acquired Cambridge, UK-based BlueGnome for an undisclosed sum.

The deal provides Illumina with BlueGnome's array-based cytogenetic and in vitro fertilization screening tests. The firm's 24sure test is a preimplantation genetic screening assay for counting the chromosomes in a single human cell and "holds enormous promise for increasing IVF success rates," said Illumina.

BlueGnome also sells the CytoChip, a test for investigating genetic abnormalities mainly associated with developmental delay or with complex leukemias. The chip is used by more than 200 labs across 40 countries worldwide as a first-line cytogenetic test, said Illumina, and can replace traditional G-band karyotyping.

"The BlueGnome acquisition supports Illumina's goal to be the leader in genomic-based diagnostics and enhances the company's ability to establish integrated solutions in reproductive health and cancer," Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement.

BlueGnome had 2011 revenues of $18 million, Illumina CFO Marc Stapley said today at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conferences held in New York. The acquired firm has more than 50 employees and over 200 customers.

One of the primary reasons for the acquisition was that it gives Illumina access to BlueGnome's Blue Fuse software, which Illumina will start
integrating into its own products, and potentially its BaseSpace cloud computing platform, Christian Henry, Illumina's senior vice president and general manager of genomic solutions, added.

BlueGnome will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Illumina. Nick Haan and Graham Snudden, the co-founders of BlueGnome, will continue to lead the subsidiary and will report to Greg Heath, SVP and general manager of Illumina's diagnostics business.

In addition to its headquarters in Cambridge, BlueGnome also has an office in Singapore, and it recently opened its US operations in Fairfax, Va.