Life Technologies takes majority stake in GeneArt

After buying 58 percent of outstanding shares, Life Technologies is planning a voluntary public tender offer for the remaining GeneArt shares

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REGENSBURG, Germany—Via its German subsidiary Applied Biosystems Deutschland GmbH,  Carlsbad, Calif.-based Life Technologies Corp., has announced the purchase of 58 percent of the outstanding shares in GeneArt AG. As a result, Life Technologies is now the majority shareholder in this Regensburg, Germany-based gene synthesis and protein production company.

The founders of GeneArt, Dr. Ralf Wagner, Dr. Hans Wolf, Dr. Marcus Graf, and individual members of the management—as well as the venture capital companies EquiNet EarlyStage Capital and S-REFIT AG, signed contracts in early April with Applied Biosystems Deutschland GmbH for selling their GeneArt shares.

Life Technologies is planning a voluntary public tender offer for the remaining GeneArt shares.

As Rachel Lehmann-Haupt noted in an article at BNET, this is the second  major announcement this business quarter to put Life Technologies "in a solid leadership position in the gene sequencing race," both in the United States and Europe.

The first, she noted, was a partnership with the Ignite Institute for Individualized Health to create a sequencing center in the United States, wherein Ignite acquired 100 of the company's Applied Biosystems SOLiD Systems, which they plan to use for research on cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke, and autism spectrum disorders.

Currently, Lehmann-Haupt wrote, two-thirds of the next-generation sequencers in facilities around the world come from Illumina, while 454 Life Sciences and Life Technologies' Applied BioSystems operations together make up 15 percent.  

"Whole-genome sequencing companies are beginning to get more targeted," she noted. "Illumina Inc. and Life Technologies are both gunning for the general sequencing market while 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company, is targeting researchers who are looking for long-read sequencing runs, which will eventually be clinically applied to matching donors for organ transplants. But clearly, this recent news shows that [Life Technologies] is gaining solid ground in gene sequencing."

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