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Illumina acquires Epicentre Biotechnologies
February 2011
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author
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SAN DIEGO—Seeking to enhance its sample preparation and enzyme portfolio, Illumina Inc. announced Jan. 11 that it has acquired Epicentre Biotechnologies, a provider of nucleic acid sample preparation reagents and specialty enzymes used in sequencing and microarray applications.
 
According to Illumina, the company was attracted by the prospect of having direct access to Epicentre's Nextera technology for next-generation sequencing library preparation, which Illumina says "greatly simplifies genetic analysis workflows and reduces time from sample preparation to answer." Nextera, Illumina says, will enable researchers to prepare sequencer-ready libraries from genomic DNA with less than 15 minutes of hands-on time, representing significant timesaving compared to alternate methods. In addition, Nextera technology requires 10 to 100 times less starting DNA, which enables applications with limited starting material such as tumor biopsies, degraded DNA or purified RNA, according to Illumina.
 
These features are critical to advancing the evolution of next-generation sequencing, said Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley in a statement.
 
"Epicentre's Nextera technology provides a step-change improvement in library prep that will translate into greater ease of use, lower costs and faster turnaround times for sequencing applications," Flatley added. "In addition to Nextera, Epicentre is a leading supplier of specialty enzymes and kits that are beneficial to Illumina's technologies."
 
Specifically, the combined company will be able to offer an end-to-end solution for next-generation sequencing, microarray and real time PCR applications, Illumina says. Founded in 1987, Epicentre has R&D and manufacturing facilities in Madison, Wis. The company's kits and reagents for DNA and RNA sequencing, gene expression analysis, DNA and RNA purification, PCR and RT-PCR, cloning, in-vitro transcription and microbial genomics are used worldwide by academic, commercial, and government laboratories in diverse applications, including basic research, drug discovery, cancer research, infectious disease research, microbiology and personalized medicine.
 
Commenting on the acquisition, analyst Deutsche Bank raised its price target to $77 from $75, adding, "the firm believes that the company is in a dominant market position in the high-growth genetic analysis markets."


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