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Qiagen, Digene, eXegenics

Qiagen to Buy Digene for $1.6B; Merger Links US-Europe Molecular Dx Strategy
Qiagen said this week it plans to buy molecular diagnostics firm Digene in a cash and stock deal valued at around $1.6 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Digene shareholders will receive either $61.25 in cash for each share of Digene stock they hold or 3.545 shares of Qiagen's stock.
The $61.25 per share offer reflects a 37 percent premium for Digene’s stock, which closed last Friday at $44.77.
The total consideration will consist of 55 percent cash and 45 percent Qiagen stock.
The combined company is expected to have over $800 million in overall revenues in 2008, with $350 million coming from molecular diagnostics.
Once the deal is finalized, Digene, based in Gaithersburg, Md., will operate as a subsidiary of Qiagen, which is headquartered in Venlo, the Netherlands. Qiagen's shareholders will own roughly 78 percent of the combined company, while Digene's shareholders will own around 22 percent.
Digene's core product is a human papillomavirus test that screens for high-risk strains of HPV that have been linked to cervical cancer. The test has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and has received European CE-mark approval.
The deal will give Digene an immediate presence in Europe, which could be a lucrative market for the HPV test, and will strengthen Qiagen's molecular diagnostics assay portfolio.
Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement that the deal "creates significant value for our shareholders and instantaneous market and technology leadership" in the molecular diagnostics market.
By connecting the two companies' virology and oncology molecular diagnostics programs, Schatz said that the deal "provides us with many ways to drive top-line and bottom-line growth, such as access to new channels with existing and new products and combined technology, resources and infrastructure to provide greater operating strengths."
Schatz also said Qiagen does not expect any layoffs as a result of the merger.

eXegenics to Acquire Eye Dx, Imaging Firm Ophthalmic Technologies
eXegenics, which recently acquired RNAi drug developer Acuity Pharmaceuticals (see RNAi News, 3/29/2007), said last week that it has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Ophthalmic Technologies, which provides diagnostic and imaging equipment to the ophthalmology market.
Under the terms of the deal, eXegenics has paid $5 million for one-third of the outstanding common shares of Ophthalmic Technologies and has received an exclusive option to purchase the remaining shares over a period of approximately six months.
Additional terms were not disclosed.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.