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Life Technologies eyes PCR market growth with BioTrove acquisition
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author


CARLSBAD, Calif.—Seeking to expand its PCR portfolio, Life Technologies Corp. has made a three-year collaboration Woburn, Mass.-based biotech BioTrove Inc. permanent by agreeing to acquire the company for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition, announced Nov. 10, marries BioTrove's OpenArray technology, a high-throughput gene expression and genotyping analysis system, with Life Technologies' line of assay products. John Gerace, vice president and general manager of Life Technologies' PCR Systems business, says the acquisition will allow the company to build on the synergies experienced during a genotyping collaboration that began in 2007.  
"We had an OEM agreement in which we sold their platform and arrays with our genotyping content on it," Gerace says. "We were presented with the option for putting genotyping and gene expression on the same platform, so an acquisition made obvious sense."  
According to Life Technologies, the increased adoption of next-generation sequencing platforms, such as the SOLiD System, has generated greater use of qPCR for simultaneous validation of an increased number of gene targets. OpenArray, which is based on an array format that enables researchers to perform more than 3,000 PCR genotyping or qPCR gene expression assays at a time, has the flexibility to allow for samples to be validated against a large target panel, or a larger quantity of samples to be screened against select validated targets. The technology is also used in applied markets, such as pathogen testing, and may enable future digital PCR applications.
"We have well over 1 million gene expression assays and well over 5 million genotyping assays, and until now, we only had the ability to put them into a 384-well microplate or card," Gerace adds. "This acquisition gives us a higher density format in which to put more content and gives our customers the ability to have a much greater density of up to 3,000 wells in a microscope slide format."
Although Life Technologies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, the company said it does not expect the transaction to have a material effect on its financials this fiscal year. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.   Created in November 2008 by the combination of Invitrogen Corp. and Applied Biosystems Inc., Life Technologies has been very active in the M/A arena, and Gerace indicates that additional acquisitions may be on the horizon.
"We have a robust, strategic roadmap that will be a combination of our internal development as well as an aggressive M/A strategy," he says.  
BioTrove was available for comment. Gerace said the acquisition is unlikely to affect BioTrove's staff or existing location in Massachusetts.  
Following the news, Life Technologies' stock hit a 52-week high. Late-trading shares stood at $50.21, up 34 cents from the previous day's close. The stock's 52-week range had been $19.56 to $49.99.
Code: E11230902



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