Life Technologies eyes PCR market growth with BioTrove acquisition

Seeking to expand its PCR portfolio, Life Technologies Corp. has made a three-year collaboration Woburn, Mass.-based biotech BioTrove Inc. permanent by agreeing to acquire the company for an undisclosed sum.

Amy Swinderman
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Seeking to expand its PCR portfolio, LifeTechnologies Corp. has made a three-year collaboration Woburn, Mass.-basedbiotech BioTrove Inc. permanent by agreeing to acquire the company for anundisclosed sum.
 
The acquisition, announced Nov. 10, marries BioTrove'sOpenArray technology, a high-throughput gene expression and genotyping analysissystem, with Life Technologies' line of assay products. John Gerace, vicepresident and general manager of Life Technologies' PCR Systems business, saysthe acquisition will allow the company to build on the synergies experiencedduring a genotyping collaboration that began in 2007.
 
 
"We had an OEM agreement in which we sold their platform andarrays with our genotyping content on it," Gerace says. "We were presented withthe option for putting genotyping and gene expression on the same platform, soan acquisition made obvious sense."
 
 
According to Life Technologies, the increased adoption ofnext-generation sequencing platforms, such as the SOLiD System, has generatedgreater use of qPCR for simultaneous validation of an increased number of genetargets. OpenArray, which is based on an array format that enables researchersto perform more than 3,000 PCR genotyping or qPCR gene expression assays at atime, has the flexibility to allow for samples to be validated against a largetarget panel, or a larger quantity of samples to be screened against selectvalidated targets. The technology is also used in applied markets, such aspathogen testing, and may enable future digital PCR applications.
 
"We have well over 1 million gene expression assays and wellover 5 million genotyping assays, and until now, we only had the ability to putthem into a 384-well microplate or card," Gerace adds. "This acquisition givesus a higher density format in which to put more content and gives our customersthe ability to have a much greater density of up to 3,000 wells in a microscopeslide format."
 
Although Life Technologies did not disclose the financialterms of the deal, the company said it does not expect the transaction to havea material effect on its financials this fiscal year. The acquisition issubject to customary closing conditions.
 
Created in November 2008 by the combination of InvitrogenCorp. and Applied Biosystems Inc., Life Technologies has been very active inthe M/A arena, and Gerace indicates that additional acquisitions may be on thehorizon.
 
"We have a robust, strategic roadmap that will be acombination of our internal development as well as an aggressive M/A strategy,"he says.
 
 
BioTrove was available for comment. Gerace said theacquisition is unlikely to affect BioTrove's staff or existing location inMassachusetts.
 
 
Following the news, Life Technologies' stock hit a 52-weekhigh. Late-trading shares stood at $50.21, up 34 cents from the previous day'sclose. The stock's 52-week range had been $19.56 to $49.99.

Amy Swinderman

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