Two for the cells: PerkinElmer buys Euroscreen

Following close on the heels of the announcement that it had acquired new instrumentation and software lines through its buyout of Evotec Technologeis, PerkinElmer announced in late December its intent to also acquire Euroscreen Products S.A.

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BOSTON—Following close on the heels of the announcement thatit had acquired new instrumentation and software lines through its buyout ofEvotec Technologeis, PerkinElmer announced in late December its intent to alsoacquire Euroscreen Products S.A. Based in Gosselies, Belgium, Euroscreen is aprovider of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) membranes, cell lines, and theAequoScreen aequorin-based cellular assay platform used in pharmaceutical andbiotech drug discovery laboratories. The transaction is expected to becompleted in the first quarter of 2007.
The move to acquire Euroscreen and the earlier Evotecpurchase (see accompanying story), comes as PerkinElmer is looking to make astrong push into the cellular assay market and provide both tools and celllines and reagents in this area to life science researchers.
"Euroscreen is especially strong in the use of theseengineered cell lines that express photo proteins and these specifically areproteins that will give off a luminescent signal in the presences of calcium.So they are ideal for doing luminescent assay screening for drug discoverytargets such as G protein-coupled receptors," says Richard Eglen, VP andgeneral manager discovery and research reagents for PerkinElmer " So what thisacquisition does for PerkinElmer, is it brings in a luminescent cell line forGPCR screening and that synergizes very well with our strategic direction tomove more into luminescence because we now have instruments that are sensitiveluminescent detectors."
By focusing on GPCRs, PerkinElmer is aiming to become a majorplayer in an arena that Eglen estimates accounts for 30 percent to 40 percentof all drug discovery targets. Further, researchers are no longer solelyfocused on discovering novel GPCR ligands, he says, but there is now developinginterest in profiling compounds across GPCRs.
Under the terms of the planned transaction, EuroscreenProducts will transfer its portfolio of GPCR screening tools and its exclusiveglobal license to aequorin technology, granted by the University of Georgia Research FoundationInc., to PerkinElmer. Aequorin technology, based on a naturally occurringphotoprotein, generates large, luminescent signals that result in higherquality data, while reducing the number of false positives in high throughputand ultra-high throughput screening environments. "We are excited about the opportunity to work withPerkinElmer, sharing new ideas on product development and science," says Dr.Jean Combalbert, CEO of Euroscreen S.A, in a prepared statement announcing thedeal. "We expect the combination of the Euroscreen Products portfolio andPerkinElmer's robust global distribution channels would accelerate the adoptionof this exceptional screening technology by the world's leading pharmaceuticaland biotechnology laboratories. The sale of our products division would enableus to reinforce our strategy dramatically by funding our drug discovery andtailored screening service activities."

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