Qiagen acquires rotary RT-PCR cycler inventor

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Qiagen Molecular biology Dna Polymerase chain reaction

Dutch sample and assay expert, Qiagen has bought Australia-based
Corbett Life Science Pty in a deal that could be worth up to $135m
(€86m).

Qiagen has made a name for itself in the sample preparation and assay set up areas of molecular testing, but has historically shied away from getting involved with the detection instrumentation market, preferring to adopt an 'open platform' strategy and offer its test for use on third-party detection systems.

However, the acquisition of Corbett marks a move into the detection system market.

Corbett is best known for developing the world's first rotary RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) cycler system, the Rotor-Gene, which is used to detect specific sequences of amplified DNA and RNA.

Unlike more 'traditional' PCR cyclers, the Rotor-Gene uses a centrifugal rotary design making it the most thermally and optically precise RT-PCR analyser available.

The system features high-speed data capture as well as high resolution melt (HRM) capabilities used for detecting previously unknown gene sequences in a straightforward manner.

According to Qiagen, the addition of PCR detection technology extends its molecular testing solution portfolio and enhances its options to offer sample and assay technology solutions spanning from sample to result.

The firm has stated that it will continue this 'open platform' approach, but will focus its development of new regulated tests and testing technologies for use with the Rotor-Gene family.

"We are pleased to offer our customers the choice of a superior platform of technologies for the entire workflow process - from sample to result ," said Peer Schatz, Qiagen's CEO.

"We expect this transaction to contribute significantly to our leading positions in molecular diagnostics, applied testing, pharmaceutical and clinical research as well as academic research."

The deal comprises of approximately $66m in cash, $4m in restricted Qiagen common stock and other contingencies of up to $65m over the next four years.

Qiagen expects the acquisition will add approximately $14m to its revenues for the second half of 2009 and up to $40m over the whole of 2009.

"The fit with Qiagen is tremendous and will be very beneficial for customers of both companies," said John Corbett Jr., co-founder of Corbett Life Science.

"We have a long-standing relationship with Qiagen and Qiagen already has more than 30 molecular diagnostic assays optimized for the Corbett Rotor-Gene PCR cycler."

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