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All about antibodies
May 2013
by Ilene Schneider  |  Email the author
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ROCKVILLE, Md.—In an effort to expand and enhance its presence in the antibody market, OriGene Technologies Inc., a provider of genome-wide products for research and diagnostic applications, recently signed an agreement to acquire all the assets of the life-science business of SDIX, a provider of biotechnology-based products and services. The expected commercial benefits are the advancement of OriGene's capabilities to produce IVD-grade antibodies and to better provide the highest-quality antibodies available to the marketplace, according to Dr. Wei-Wu He, OriGene's chairman and CEO.  
 
OriGene was founded in 1996 as a "gene-centric" research tool company, and its portfolio includes cDNA clone collection, full-length human proteins, high-throughput antibody production and Luminex assays. OriGene now manufactures and sells its genome-wide research and diagnostic products worldwide and provides antibodies sold under the TrueMAB and UltraMAB Antibodies brand names.  
 
As a research tool company committed to the creation of the largest commercial collection of full-length human cDNAs in a standard expression vector, OriGene's vision is to prepare comprehensive, genome-wide research tools and technology platforms to enable scientists to study complete biological pathways, thus enabling a better understanding of disease mechanisms including cancer and stem cell research. The availability of the complete human genome sequence and the subsequent development of genome-based tools have enabled the identification of relevant drug targets through system biology approaches. OriGene uses a high-throughput, genome-wide approach to develop products for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic research, with complete molecular biology services from codon optimization, gene synthesis and protein expression and assay development.
 
OriGene, with operations in the United States and China, anticipates that "the combination of SDIX with OriGene will enhance our ability to continue to develop the most comprehensive collection of high-quality monoclonal antibodies for key applications both in research and diagnostics fields," says He.
 
SDIX supplies antigens, antibodies and assays for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets. In the life-science market, SDIX's technology and capabilities are being used to help discover disease mechanisms, facilitate development of new drugs and provide antibodies and assays for the diagnosis of disease. SDIX's core technologies—proprietary genetic immunization technology and IVD reagent capabilities—will help expand OriGene's previously announced strategy to further develop the UltraMAB product line, according to He. UltraMAB, launched in March 2013, is a line of "specificity-verified" monoclonal antibodies, exclusively available from OriGene and developed for IHC applications.  
 
He expects the acquisition of SDIX to enhance OriGene's capabilities to provide the most comprehensive immunization strategies for antibody development using full-length mammalian produced protein and genetic immunization technologies and to expand antibody and IVD reagent product and services capabilities to create significant new commercial opportunities for existing and new customers. He says he believes the "transaction will uniquely position OriGene as one of the leaders in antibody development and production to help our customers find the best solutions for their antibody and assay needs."  
 
The $16-million deal adds SDIX's Advanced Genomic Antibody Technology, or GAT, to the technologies and global operations of OriGene, including OriGene's extensive array of ultra-specific monoclonal antibodies called UltraMAB, its proprietary high-density microarray technology for a wide variety of antibody applications and its cDNA clone collection, a searchable gene bank of several thousand full-length human proteins. The timeframe for finalizing the transaction and bringing Newark, Del.-based SDIX into the fold is the second quarter of 2013, pending SDIX shareholder approval.  
SDIX says it expects the acquisition to result in a broader portfolio of products and services for customers and a wider reach into markets that it "would be challenged to achieve as a standalone business."  
 
Francis DiNuzzo, SDIX's president and CEO, comments, "The sale of our life-science business to OriGene is a natural progression for SDIX." Steven Becker, chairman of the SDIX board of directors, says his company has sought "over the past few years" to create value for shareholders. 
 
"We believe this transaction is the best possible outcome for our shareholders, employees and valued customers," he says.  
 
OriGene says it plans to offer employment to "a substantial majority" of employees in SDIX.
 
Code: E051313

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