Affymetrix buys USB to accelerate genetic tools development

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Molecular biology Dna Biology Affymetrix

Microarray expert Affymetrix is to buy molecular biology reagent
firm USB Corporation for $75m (€52m) in a bid to accelerate the
development of new genetic analysis tools.

Affymetrix has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire USB Corporation for $75m to gain access to its line of molecular biology and biochemical reagent that it believes will accelerate the development and commercialisation of new gene analysis tools and systems while also increasing the value of its product portfolio. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Affymetrix' recent financial results​ indicate the company has recovered from a difficult period during which it suffered from increased competition in the microarray field pushing down product prices. "The integration of USB's biochemical reagents with Affymetrix' current and future products will greatly accelerate our ability to develop and commercialise more complete customer solutions,"​ said Kevin King, president of Affymetrix. "USB is a recognised leader in the life sciences industry with strong brand equity and established manufacturing capabilities. This acquisition is a strategic fit for Affymetrix' growth strategy and we expect it to be modestly accretive to our 2008 earnings per share, before anticipated charges relating to the transaction." ​ The deal somewhat mirrors Agilent's acquisition of consumables and reagents manufacturer Stratagene​ earlier this year, with an instrument manufacturer getting hold of the reagents needed to develop new tools. USB started life in the 1970s as United States Biochemical supplying reagents to the research market. Since then the company has had a hand in developing thermostable enzymes that for high-throughput DNA sequencing applications. The firm was bought by Amersham Life Science in 1993 and when Amersham merged with Pharmacia Biotech, the senior management at USB acquired three of the original main product lines to form the basis of USB Corporation. Today, the company has three major product 'groupings' that consist of biochemical reagents, molecular biology enzymes and kits, and products used in membrane protein research. ​The company has said it will provide more information about the deal during its fiscal 2007 year-end earnings call which is scheduled for January 31, 2008.

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