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Zygem Buys MicroLab Diagnostics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – DNA and RNA extraction company Zygem said today that it has bought the microfluidics technologies firm MicroLab Diagnostics for an undisclosed sum.

Zygem said it plans to offer products that integrate their technologies to the DNA testing market for applications in forensics, biodefense, point-of-care diagnostics, and food testing. The company said that an integration of its DNA extraction and reagents and detection assays with the MicroLab microfluidic chip technology will decrease the time, complexity, and cost of conducting DNA testing.

The new Zygem will be headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., and it will retain its bases in Solana Beach, Calif., and in Hamilton, New Zealand. MicroLab will operate as a Zygem business unit, and its microfluidic chip technology has been exclusively licensed to Zygem from the University of Virginia.

Zygem CEO Paul Kinnon said in a statement that the firms' combined technologies "will enable us to greatly expand the utility of DNA detection for both existing and new applications."

"Zygem brings us DNA extraction and detection technology that is an ideal fit with our microchips, enabling us to achieve a seamless sample-to-answer solution with broad market applicability," MicroLab Diagnostics Co-Founder and University of Virginia Professor James Landers said. "It also brings us commercial expertise and a global network of distributors and partners," he added.

Landers will serve as Zygem's new chief scientific officer.

"We will initially target the forensic and government sectors, where we have already demonstrated convincing proof-of-concept and which represent markets we estimate to exceed $3 billion annually in the US alone," said Kinnon, adding that the firm expects to launch its new platform in 2011.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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