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Two for the cells: PerkinElmer buys Euroscreen
BOSTON—Following close on the heels of the announcement that it had acquired new instrumentation and software lines through its buyout of Evotec Technologeis, PerkinElmer announced in late December its intent to also acquire Euroscreen Products S.A. Based in Gosselies, Belgium, Euroscreen is a provider of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) membranes, cell lines, and the AequoScreen aequorin-based cellular assay platform used in pharmaceutical and biotech drug discovery laboratories. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2007.
The move to acquire Euroscreen and the earlier Evotec purchase (see accompanying story), comes as PerkinElmer is looking to make a strong push into the cellular assay market and provide both tools and cell lines and reagents in this area to life science researchers.
"Euroscreen is especially strong in the use of these engineered cell lines that express photo proteins and these specifically are proteins that will give off a luminescent signal in the presences of calcium. So they are ideal for doing luminescent assay screening for drug discovery targets such as G protein-coupled receptors," says Richard Eglen, VP and general manager discovery and research reagents for PerkinElmer " So what this acquisition does for PerkinElmer, is it brings in a luminescent cell line for GPCR screening and that synergizes very well with our strategic direction to move more into luminescence because we now have instruments that are sensitive luminescent detectors."
By focusing on GPCRs, PerkinElmer is aiming to become a major player in an arena that Eglen estimates accounts for 30 percent to 40 percent of all drug discovery targets. Further, researchers are no longer solely focused on discovering novel GPCR ligands, he says, but there is now developing interest in profiling compounds across GPCRs.
Under the terms of the planned transaction, Euroscreen Products will transfer its portfolio of GPCR screening tools and its exclusive global license to aequorin technology, granted by the University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc., to PerkinElmer. Aequorin technology, based on a naturally occurring photoprotein, generates large, luminescent signals that result in higher quality data, while reducing the number of false positives in high throughput and ultra-high throughput screening environments. "We are excited about the opportunity to work with PerkinElmer, sharing new ideas on product development and science," says Dr. Jean Combalbert, CEO of Euroscreen S.A, in a prepared statement announcing the deal. "We expect the combination of the Euroscreen Products portfolio and PerkinElmer's robust global distribution channels would accelerate the adoption of this exceptional screening technology by the world's leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories. The sale of our products division would enable us to reinforce our strategy dramatically by funding our drug discovery and tailored screening service activities."