PerkinElmer acquires array CGH assets from Spectral Genomics

PerkinElmer has expanded and deepened its screening and diagnostics offerings with the acquisition of Spectral Genomics’ assets for molecular karyotyping technology used to evaluate chromosomal abnormalities.

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BOSTON—PerkinElmer has expanded and deepened its screening and diagnostics offerings with the acquisition of Spectral Genomics' assets for molecular karyotyping technology used to evaluate chromosomal abnormalities. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For PerkinElmer, it was the right choice at the right time for the company, says Howard Grey, PerkinElmer's director of molecular diagnostics and one of the executives who was instrumental in this acquisition. With revenues of $1.5 billion in 2005 and 8,000 employees serving customers in more than 125 countries, PerkinElmer already has a substantial portfolio of molecular medicine and genetic screening offerings. But acquiring the molecular karyotyping technology from Spectral was the most efficient and cost-effective way to add the technology and bring a new and promising tool on board.
Spectral Genomics' array products and analysis software help pharmaceutical, biotechnology, cytogenetic and clinical researchers identify chromosomal abnormalities related to the study of cancer and prenatal and postnatal genetic disorders. The company's proprietary array CGH (comparative genome hybridization) technology is said to provide a high-resolution global view of the human genome, enabling researchers to identify the exact location of any chromosomal deletions and amplifications that can cause an increased risk of genetic disease.
"By enabling rapid surveys of the whole genome at high resolution, scientists can produce abundant, highly reproducible data in a fraction of the time required with standard methods, driving higher productivity in the lab," says Robert F. Friel, president of PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.
Array-based karyotyping is widely expected to replace florescent in-situ hybridization (FISH), G-banding microscopic analysis and other conventional forms of karyotyping in the cytogenetic market, which was valued at approximately $1.4 billion in 2004, according to PerkinElmer. The array CGH marketplace also looks good for substantial growth as more academic institutions leverage the technology in their biomarker discovery programs, the company has expressed.
"As we've moved forward in the industry, we've gone through many phases—chromatography, FTIR, SNPs, and so on—and we are always looking to add new tools," Grey says. "Now we're entering a new phase with array CGH, which is highly complementary to our other current technologies."
He adds, though, that the acquisition was not designed so much to buy Spectral's existing products and services but rather to gain an entire platform technology that PerkinElmer can leverage to make a variety of tools for drug discovery, clinical research and patient diagnostics.
Grey says the decision to bring array CGH on board—and acquiring Spectral to do it—at this particular point in time was driven by customers' desires. PerkinElmer's assessment of the screening and diagnostics market in recent months including talking to many customers, who "almost universally" said that the time had come for array CGH for preclinical and clinical research," he explains.
"The resonance we got from the market was too overwhelming to ignore the opportunity to acquire this array technology," he adds. Also, from an internal standpoint, the technology was a good strategic fit because of compatibility with existing genetic screening tools and the fact it spans both the research and clinical sides of the business.

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