Life Technologies Races Ahead In The Gene Sequencing Race

Last Updated Apr 12, 2010 1:08 PM EDT

Life Technologies, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company announced the purchase of 58 percent of its outstanding shares in GenArt, making the company the majority shareholder in this Regensburg, Germany-based gene synthesis firm. According to Genome Web:
The company said that its management team and venture capital investors EquiNet EarlyStage Capital and S-REFIT AG have agreed to sell their shares to Applied Biosystems Deutschland GmbH, the German subsidiary of Life Technologies.
The agreement gives Applied Biosystems Deutschland approximately 58 percent of GeneArt's shares.
In addition, GeneArt said that Applied Biosystems Deutschland is planning a voluntary public tender offer for the remaining shares.
This is the second major announcement this quarter to put the global company in a solid leadership position in the gene sequencing race, both in the US and Europe. The first was a partnership with the Ignite Institute for Individualized Health to create a sequencing center in the US. Ignite acquired 100 of the company's Applied Biosystems SOLiD(TM) Systems, which they plan to use for research on diseases as such cancers and diabetes; neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's; cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke, and autism spectrum disorders.
Currently two-thirds of the next generation of sequencers in facilities around the world come from the company Illumina, according to Genome Web. Life Technologies's Applied BioSystems and 454 Life Sciences make up 15 percent. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Whole-genome sequencing companies are beginning to get more targeted. 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 the company is gaining solid ground in gene sequencing.

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