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Qiagen Closes $90M Purchase of SABiosciences, Promises 'Quick and Smooth' Integration

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This article was originally posted on Dec. 14.

Qiagen said this week that it has completed its $90 million, all-cash acquisition of SABiosciences, a privately held developer of disease- and pathway-focused PCR assay panels.

Peer Schatz, CEO of Qiagen, said in a statement that he believes the integration of the 100-employee, Frederick, Md.-based company into its operations will be "a quick and smooth one," citing the "high level of complementarities" between the firms.

SABiosciences offers more than 100 PCR assay panels, called PCR Arrays, which enable the analysis of DNA, RNA, epigenetic, and microRNA targets in biological pathways associated with specific diseases or with defined pathways.

Qiagen projects that SABiosciences will generate around $24 million in revenues in 2010.

The company said that it expects SABiosciences' products to "strengthen its position as a premium partner for the pharmaceutical industry and to yield content for its three molecular diagnostic segments: prevention, profiling and personalized healthcare."

In particular, Qiagen believes that the PCR Arrays should appeal to its biotech and pharmaceutical customers who are developing companion diagnostics.

When the acquisition was announced in November, Schatz told PCR Insider that the company wanted to give its customers "the ability to take an assay that they're using in a very early stage of discovery and validation and — without transitioning technology platforms — seamlessly move that into a companion diagnostic candidate if they so wish." [PCR Insider 11/17/09]

The SAB products are also expected to be complementary to DxS, a companion diagnostic developer based in the UK that Qiagen acquired in September for $95 million in cash plus up to an additional $35 million if certain milestones are met.

Qiagen's pharmaceutical partners "are interested in looking at well-validated disease panels [and] in the clinical relevance of the genes that are within the panel. And this is what we can offer now through the SAB portfolio," Schatz said in November.

SABiosciences, founded in 1998 as SuperArray Biosciences, is located within a five-minute drive of Qiagen's North American headquarters in Germantown and Gaithersburg, Md. This proximity "is expected to contribute to a rapid and smooth integration," the company said this week.

Qiagen plans to establish SAB's Frederick site as a "center of excellence" in biological content development, and plans to continue developing new PCR Array panels.

The company said this week that the SAB PCR Arrays "may be operated on Qiagen instruments in the future," but did not disclose further details.

The PCR Arrays currently run on real-time PCR instruments made by Life Technologies' Applied Biosystems group, Bio-Rad, Agilent's Stratagene line, Roche, Eppendorf, Takara, and Fluidigm.

Schatz said in November that the firm will continue to support third-party platforms, and a company spokesman said at the time that making the assay panels compatible with the company's Rotor-Gene Q would be a "top priority" once the deal is closed.

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