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Looking beyond imaging and detection
October 2011
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


WALTHAM, Mass.—PerkinElmer Inc. has its sights set on strengthening its market position for molecular imaging and detection for human and environmental health, but is also seeking to expand into the preclinical realm, companion diagnostics and other "compelling customer solutions in a broad range of high-growth end markets."
To those ends, the company announced in September the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Hopkinton, Mass.-based Caliper Life Sciences Inc. 
"It was featured in our strategic plans back at the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009 that we had identified preclinical work as a natural stepping stone from cellular imaging," Alan Fletcher, vice president of strategic marketing for the Bio-discovery unit of PerkinElmer, tells ddn. "If you think about our capabilities in detection as well, we have a natural progression to proceed into clinically relevant data for trials. We've been looking at areas like toxicology and animal imaging, which are high-growth areas in our view."  
Under the terms of the agreement, PerkinElmer will buy Caliper for $10.50 per share, or a total of about $600 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011, and Kevin Hrusovsky, Caliper's CEO, plans to join PerkinElmer's senior leadership team following the close of the transaction. 
Robert F. Friel, chairman and CEO of PerkinElmer, said in the news release about that deal that the combined R&D expertise and intellectual property of the companies will accelerate their ability to bring new innovations to market, adding, "The acquisition of Caliper Life Sciences brings innovative molecular imaging and detection technologies to our portfolio, complementing our world-leading offerings in life science, diagnostics, environmental and food markets."  
Reportedly, the combined technology platforms will expand PerkinElmer's portfolio of solutions and services for global customers, including: broader offerings for molecular, cellular, animal and tissue imaging to enable translational medicine research; the addition of a world-leading microfluidics platform for genomics and proteomics applications, for improved detection and screening through low sample use and efficiency; and high-value sample preparation technologies for key scientific workflow areas such as next-generation DNA sequencing.   
In addition, PerkinElmer foresees more comprehensive solutions and services for identification of therapeutic response, biotherapeutics development and biologics QA/QC; platform technology additions that will drive expansion into attractive areas such as detection for environmental contaminants and food pathogens; and broadened services capabilities that will leverage multi-vendor asset management, custom research and profiling for contaminants and adverse effects.  
Fletcher believes the cultural fit between the two companies is good, saying that change in the Bio-discovery unit and health sciences in general at PerkinElmer for the past few years has been strongly driven by a commitment to innovation.  
"If you look at Caliper, Kevin himself stands up as an extremely motivational individual, and the culture he has encouraged overlaps significantly with our own Bio-discovery business with the potential for spreading out to other divisions of PerkinElmer," Fletcher adds.  
"Throughout the past eight years, Caliper has assembled an unparalleled suite of disruptive technologies to revolutionize medicine. We are excited about the merger with PerkinElmer as it enables us to rapidly ramp the adoption of these technologies and accelerate our expansion into molecular diagnostics and environmental health markets—areas where PerkinElmer has established and growing market positions," Hrusovsky says. "We are confident that this merger maximizes value for Caliper's key stakeholders while strengthening the company's position as a leading provider of enabling technologies for personalized medicine." 
He adds that PerkinElmer and Caliper's technologies are "a great fit" and the resulting combined portfolio promises to be the "premier suite of tools that create the in vitro to in vivo to human 'bridge' for personalized medicine." Hrusovsky predicts synergistic opportunities in several key technology areas, including small-molecule discovery, biotherapeutics and vaccines, biomarker discovery and companion diagnostics, next-generation sequencing and regenerative medicine. 
This deal follows the acquisition of several other companies by PerkinElmer earlier in the year, but it has a much different character. For one thing, the Caliper acquisition is the largest of the lot, but also the previous acquisitions—Geospiza, CambridgeSoft and ArtusLabs—focused on expansion of PerkinElmer's bioinformatics capabilities. 
Still, while this acquisition may seem to be of a different character, Fletcher emphasizes that the informatics focus earlier in the year and the Caliper acquisition now stand to provide "significant overlap" and strengthen the overall offerings by bringing together such things as DNA and RNA sample preparation, bioinformatics, toxicology CRO services, imaging and more, "complementing not only Bio-discovery, but also the broader PerkinElmer portfolio."
Fletcher also notes that PerkinElmer has been looking to expand in Asia and sees that region and other emerging markets as attractive places to market Caliper's products. The total purchase price represents a premium of 42 percent for Caliper Life Sciences shareholders, relative to the closing price of $7.39 on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the acquisition plans. The acquisition has received the unanimous support of the boards of directors of both companies, and the transaction is expected to be dilutive to PerkinElmer's 2012 GAAP earnings per share by approximately 5 cents and accretive to PerkinElmer's 2012 First Call consensus adjusted earnings per share by approximately 8 cents.  
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of Caliper Life Sciences stockholders, and the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott- Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Caliper Life Sciences and Yale Center for Genome Analysis automate next-gen sequencing workflows  
HOPKINTON, Mass.— Caliper Life Sciences Inc. last month announced a collaboration with the Center for Genome Analysis at Yale University to implement automated protocols for exome capture and library preparation workflows.
Yale has purchased Caliper's Sciclone NGS Workstation and LabChip GXI to improve key bottlenecks in the Illumina HiSeq2000 NGS sample preparation process, said Dr. Shrikant Mane, director of the Yale Center for Genome Analysis, in a statement.
"We chose these systems because of their flexibility, which will enable us to automate protocols for the Pacific Biosciences sequencing workflow in the future, and because of the hands-on support Caliper provides in customizing their systems to automate the numerous sequencing workflows utilized at our center," Mane said.  
Caliper is working to enhance its NGS sample preparation suite to accelerate sample preparation for each of its sequencing instrumentation and reagent platforms, added Kevin Hrusovsky, the company's president and CEO.
"Our team is committed to providing the highest level of support and resource to enable leading NGS institutions to conduct fundamental research that will enable the delivery of medicine in a more personalized manner," he added.
Code: E101102



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