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Qiagen Acquires Germany's ESE for $19M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen said today that it has acquired Germany's ESE, a privately held developer and manufacturer of UV and fluorescence optical measurement devices, for $19 million in cash.

ESE's optical measurement systems are used in medical and industrial applications, and can detect fluorescent signals in a wide range of molecular testing applications, most notably in nucleic acid-based point-of-care testing.

Qiagen said that ESE's instruments offer ultra-fast multiplexed detection capabilities, are highly portable, and can be manufactured at low cost – less than $2,000 per unit. As such, ESE's technology is expected to open new opportunities in healthcare and applied testing for Qiagen, enabling low-throughput molecular testing in settings where a laboratory infrastructure is not accessible and fast turnaround is required.

In addition, ESE's fluorescence detection modules can be integrated into existing laboratory instruments, such as the HDA and tHDA isothermal assay systems, which Qiagen licensed from BioHelix in 2008. Qiagen said that these isothermal assay technologies are an integral part of its next-generation screening platform, QIAensemble.

Qiagen said that ESE's systems can also perform HDA-based assays for several pathogens including salmonella, E. coli, and influenza, and that it plans to develop and offer molecular diagnostic tests using the ESE technology in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. In the US, Qiagen said it intends to focus on select application fields such as acute care and critical care areas where rapid turnaround and portable solutions are required.

Qiagen also said that it expects to submit its first assays for regulatory approval following the launch of clinical systems after 2011. In the developing world, Qiagen said it is eyeing opportunities to expand its offering in point-of-care infectious disease testing.

ESE's development and manufacturing site in Stockach will become a Qiagen Center of Excellence in Detection Development. Qiagen said that it intends to retain and expand the employee base at the center.

Qiagen anticipates that one-time charges in connection with this acquisition will not exceed $500,000 in 2010. Additionally, the transaction is expected to contribute approximately $6 million in sales in 2010. On an adjusted basis, the acquisition is expected to be neutral to earnings per share in 2010, Qiagen said.