Roche snaps up NimbleGen

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dna microarray Dna

Roche Diagnostics has strengthened its position in the genomics
field with the acquisition of DNA microarray expert NimbleGen in a
deal worth $272.5m (€203m).

Roche's latest acquisition, its fourth of the year, will give the company access to the microarray market that has been estimated to be worth over $600m. Roche plans to maintain NimbleGen's current facilities in Madison, US, Reykjavik, Iceland and Waldkraiburg, Germany as well as the company's 140 employees and will become a fully integrated part of Roche Diagnostic's Applied Science division. "The Array Systems from NimbleGen will complement the existing Roche portfolio of innovative genomic research tools such as the LightCycler qPCR systems and the high-throughput sequencing systems from the recently acquired 454 Life Sciences,"​ said Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche Diagnostics. The move comes just two months after Roche Diagnostics bought gene-sequencing company 454 Life Sciences​ from Curagen in a deal worth up to $155m. "This acquisition represents a further milestone in our strategy to strengthen our position as a major player and complete solution provider in the genomics research market by extending our activities into the microarray segment,"​ said Schwan The company also acquired antibody research specialist Therapeutic Human Polyclonals​ (THP) and vaccine technology expert BioVeris​ earlier in the year. While NimbleGen's revenues grew to $13.5m in 2006, three times the $4.5m the company reported two years earlier, the company is yet to turn a profit. Earlier this year in March, NimbleGen filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock and was believed to be looking to raise $75m. NimbleGen was initially blocked from selling its DNA microarrays in the US and various other parts of the world by patents owned by Affymetrix so started off by using its technologies to provide research services from a base in Reykjavik which was not bound by the patents. In October last year, NimbleGen agreed a license with Affymetrix over a number of patents covering the manufacture, use and sales of nucleic acid microarrays.

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