Bio Saga Headlines

Bio Saga

Monday, September 22, 2014

Merck KGaA to Buy Sigma-Aldrich for $17B

Merck KGaA today announced that it will acquire Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will acquire all outstanding shares of Sigma-Aldrich for $140 per share, which would represent a 37 percent premium to Sigma-Aldrich's closing stock price of $102.37 on Sept. 19. The deal is anticipated to be immediately accretive to Merck's EPS pre and EBITDA margin, the companies said, and Merck anticipates achieving annual synergies of about €260 million ($334 million) within three years after the completion of the acquisition.

In a statement, Merck KGaA Chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley called the deal a "quantum leap" for the company's life science business, whose contributions to the German firm's overall earnings would more than double with the addition of Sigma-Aldrich.

"In one of the world's key industries two companies that fit perfectly together have found each other to present a much broader product offering to our global customers in research, pharma, and biopharma manufacturing, and diagnostic and testing labs," he said.
The deal, he added, "will secure stable growth and profitability in an industry that is driven by trends, such as the globalization of research and manufacturing. What's more, the combination gives us the possibility to invest even more in innovation going forward."
St. Louis-based Sigma-Aldrich develops and manufactures a wide range of life science products, including chemicals, biochemicals, and equipment for life science research ¬– including studies directed at genomic and proteomic research – as well as biotech and pharma development. The company was founded in 1951 and has about 9,000 employees.
In the omics-related life science tools space, Merck KGaA's purchase of Sigma-Aldrich would represent the largest transaction in several years, surpassing Thermo Fisher Scientific 's buy of Life Technologies for $13.6 billion earlier this year.

In a note, ISI Group analyst Ross Muken said that although he sees the newly combined firm as a "more formidable competitor to Thermo Fisher in base reagents/chemicals, we think that the new entity still lacks Thermo Fisher's breadth of offering given a lack of foothold in instrumentation."

Sigma-Aldrich President and CEO Rakesh Sachdev said the combined firms "will be well-positioned to deliver significant customer benefits, including a broader, complementary range of products and capabilities, greater investment in breakthrough innovations, enhanced customer service, and a leading e-commerce and distribution platform in the industry."

The companies said that in the laboratory and academia markets, the combined firm will provide customers a complementary range of products across laboratory chemicals, biologics, and reagents, while in pharma and biopharma production, Sigma-Aldrich will complement Merck KGaA business EMD Millipore's existing products and capabilities "with additions along the entire value chain of drug production and validation." Furthermore, the deal is anticipated to expand Merck EMD Millipore's global reach by increasing its presence in North America and expanding its exposure to Asia.

In 2013, Sigma-Aldrich recorded $2.70 billion in revenues and a profit of $491 million, or $4.06 per share. Merck KGaA had €11.10 billion in sales last year with net income of €1.20 billion, or €2.77 per share.

Merck KGaA will pay for the purchase through a combination of cash, bank loans, and bonds. It has secured bridge financing for the deal, which is expected to close in mid-2015.
Mizuho Securities analyst Peter Lawson in a note today that the deal "seems like a natural fit to us and takes Merck [KGaA] deeper into biology, with the Sigma business fitting well with Merck’s legacy chemical businesses and the acquired Millipore business. We see the potential for competitive bids as low based upon a high-end multiple, and only see a handful of other potential suitors."

Shares of Sigma-Aldrich rose nearly 34 percent in trading Monday morning on the Nasdaq to $136.71.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Roche Acquires Nanopore Sequencing Firm Genia Technologies for up to $350M & Sequenom Sells Bioscience Business to Agena for $31.8M

Roche said today that it will acquire Genia Technologies for $125 million in cash and up to $225 million in additional payments tied to milestones. Once the deal closes, Genia will be integrated into the Roche Sequencing Unit.

Genia, based in Mountain View, Calif., has been developing a single-molecule sequencing-by-synthesis technology that uses nanopore-based electrical detection and employs a semiconductor integrated circuit.

Last fall, Genia and its academic collaborators at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology published proof of concept for their NanoTag sequencing technology.

According to Roche, Genia's technology "is expected to reduce the price of sequencing while increasing speed and sensitivity."

Roche has also been working with Pacific Biosciences on developing a sequencing system and assays for clinical diagnostics using PacBio's single-molecule real-time sequencing technology. Last fall, the two companies penned an agreement under which Roche paid PacBio $35 million upfront and could pay up to an additional $40 million in milestones.

Roche first stepped into the next-generation sequencing arena when it acquired 454 Life Sciences in 2007 for $155 million in cash and stock, but it decided last year to phase out that technology by mid-2016.

The company also had research and development partnerships with IBM and DNA Electronics to develop new sequencing technology but discontinued those projects last year.

Sequenom said after the close of the market Friday that it has sold its bioscience business, which includes its MassArray system, to Agena Bioscience for $31.8 million.

Sequenom had said in September that it would conduct a strategic review for the business, formerly called the Genetic Analysis segment, but at the time didn't offer details on the reason for seeking a potential sell off.

"This sale strengthens our balance sheet, and will enable us to focus exclusively on our Sequenom Laboratories business as we work toward achieving profitability," Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said in a statement today.

Sequenom's sales have been increasingly driven by its Sequenom Laboratories business, and in particular its MaterniT21 Plus noninvasive prenatal test for fetal aneuploidy. It recently reported a 20 percent year-over-year increase for its first quarter revenues.

The bioscience business' flagship product is the MassArray system, a mass spectrometry-based platform for measuring genetic target material and variations. It also includes Sequenom's iPlex assay for analyzing multiplex SNPs and somatic mutations.

Agena, a San Diego-based portfolio company of investment firm Telegraph Hill Partners, will pay $31.8 million, but may pay an additional $4 million in contingent consideration based on certain regulatory and sales milestones. It also has assumed certain liabilities of the bioscience business and has taken over the facility lease for that business. Agena also said that it will offer employment to all of the employees of the bioscience business.

Agena also intends to file for US Food and Drug Administration clearance of the MassArray platform with the IMPACT Dx System, for which Sequenom filed a 510(k) application last year.
Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst William Quirk pointed out in a research note that the selling price for the bioscience business was below its FY 2013 revenues of $42.9 million and represents a discount from historical diagnostic/life science tools M&A transactions, which generally run around 2x revenues.

"We are encouraged with Sequenom focusing resources in higher margin products (NIPT testing), although we are surprised with the ultimate selling price of the Bioscience business," Quirk said.
In Monday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Sequenom were down 1 percent at $3.03.

Nuclea, Thermo Fisher Collaborating on Mass Spec Assays for Type 2 Diabetes

Nuclea Biotechnologies and Thermo Fisher Scientific said today that they are collaborating on multiplexed mass spec assays for quantifying native insulin and its therapeutic analogs.
Nuclea plans to use the assays to analyze patient samples as part of the company's diabetes research collaborations.

The assays will be developed at Thermo Fisher's Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center and will be run using Thermo Fisher's MSIA immunoenrichment technology and its TSQ Vantage or Quantiva mass spec instruments.

"We’ve already worked with the BRIMS Center to develop two other very important assays," Nuclea CEO Patrick Muraca said in a statement. "These assays have demonstrated the sensitivity, precision, and robustness needed for high-throughput detection of clinically relevant isoforms of target proteins."

"The real-world application of multiplexed MS-based methods to type 2 diabetes presents an opportunity to advance research in this crucial area," said BRIMS Center Director Mary Lopez. "Nuclea’s proven ability to validate and develop routine assays means our collaboration can support research efforts."

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Qiagen Acquires Biobase Assets

Qiagen has purchased the assets of Biobase, a Wolfenb├╝ttel, Germany-based provider of curated biological databases, for an undisclosed sum.

Qiagen said that Biobase will be renamed Qiagen Wolfenb├╝ttel. Also, Michael Tysiak, BioBase's CEO, will join Qiagen as general manager of the newly purchased company.
Founded in 2007, Biobase provides access to curated data assembled by subject matter experts and organized in an accessible and easy to search manner. Its databases support projects focused on functional and gene regulation analyses, variant annotation, pharmacogenetics-based analysis, and more.

Among its repositories are the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD), which offers access to information on inherited disease mutations; GenomeTrac, which contains data on pathogenic variants; the PharmacoGenomic Mutation Database, which serves as a resource for locating variants that affect drug response; and the Transcription Factor Binding Sites database, which contains information on eukaryotic transcription factors and miRNAs. The company offers free versions of these to academia — and will continue to do so — and priced versions that are licensed to industry.

Qiagen said that it will continue to market these databases as standalone solutions, and it will also integrate the content they contain into its existing portfolio of informatics solutions including the Ingenuity Knowledgebase, the database of biological interactions and functional annotation information that underlie all the software in Ingenuity's product line. Ingenuity was renamed Qiagen Redwood City after it was bought by Qiagen last year for $105 million.

The Biobase information will also benefit Ingenuity Clinical, a new web-based decision support system for clinical next-generation sequencing tests, which is currently being tested in 20 clinical laboratories as part of an early access program, Qiagen said. As reported by BioInform, the list of testers includes Partners Healthcare, Emory Genetics Laboratory, and GeneDx. Meanwhile, data from the HGMD is already available to customers of Ingenuity Variant Analysis, one of the software assets Qiagen gained through its acquisition of Ingenuity.

With this acquisition, "Qiagen is strategically addressing customers' needs to interpret the massive amounts of data generated by NGS," Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement, adding that the content which Biobase provides will extend the firm's "competitive advantage" in the market for clinical interpretation of sequence data.

"Interpretation of sequencing data requires access to high-quality, expert-curated content to be able to quickly and reliably assess the most up-to-date information about variants and associated phenotypes from sequencing data," Madhuri Hegde, executive director of Emory Genetics Laboratory, noted in the Qiagen statement. "Integrating Biobase content offerings such as HGMD and PGMD into Qiagen's growing informatics portfolio and leveraging it with … tools like Ingenuity Variant Analysis and Ingenuity Clinical will be invaluable to clinical labs launching sequence-based diagnostic tests."

In addition to Biobase and Qiagen Redwood City, Qiagen also owns Aarhus, Denmark-based bioinformatics firm CLC Bio. It acquired CCL Bio last year for an undisclosed sum. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NCBI Seeks Community's Input on Planned Blast Update

The National Center for Biotechnology Information is asking for the bioinformatics community's input on a proposed Blast XMLspecification update planned for release in the summer of 2014.
The update, according to the development team, is intended to improve the consistency of the Blast output with XML standards as well as put in place new and useful elements.
Blast XML users can submit their feedback at this link.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Look Who's Talking Too? It's SAP too talking on Genomics!

SAP has unveiled an early version of a new standalone application based on its SAP Hana in-memory database technology called Medical Insights that integrates and analyzes clinical and genomic data to help oncologists make better treatment decisions for patients.

In addition, SAP has announced a partnership with Canadian firm PHEMI Health Systems to build a solution that would make it possible to provide more personalized treatments for HIV patients.

SAP disclosed the development of both products at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference held this week in Orlando. It is hoping to secure additional early adopters for the newly minted Medical Insights software which it plans to bring to market later this year. The company is still mulling pricing details.

Participants in the company's early access program will have the chance to test and give feedback on a solution that leverages the Hana infrastructure to extract, integrate, and query both structured and unstructured information from tumor and biomarker repositories, patients' electronic medical records, physician's notes, and more. SAP developed the app in conjunction with the German National Center for Tumor Diseases, which is using it internally for testing purposes. By announcing the program at HIMSS this week, SAP hopes to woo a much broader variety of clinical research centers, labs, and hospitals who would be willing to test and validate the system for cancer and other disease applications before it's made broadly available, Enakshi Singh, an SAP product manager for genomics and healthcare said.

Do you wish to know more?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Neverending Story Sequel! PerkinElmer's Layoff Story Neverending!

In continuation to BioSaga's pursuit to cover the PerkinElmer's Layoff Saga The Layoffs Continue... The story now is never-ending, here is the latest!

PerkinElmer reduced its headcount by 74 employees in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing the total headcount reduction during the year to 430, it disclosed in its Form 10K filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

During the fourth quarter, the company approved a restructuring plan to shift certain R&D activity resources to a newly opened Center for Innovation, resulting in the 74 layoffs. All employees were notified of their termination by Dec. 29, 2013.

A total of $3.9 million was recorded in severance payments related to the layoffs in Q4 2013, PerkinElmer said, adding remaining severance payments of $2.0 million for workforce reductions will be "substantially completed" by the end of Q2 2014.

The company had previously disclosed it laid off 30 employees in Q3; 265 employees in Q2; and 62 employees in Q1, bringing the number of workers it terminated in 2013 to 430. As of Dec. 29, 2013 it had about 7,600 employees, it said.

In 2012, PerkinElmer cut its workforce by 437 employees.
It also said in its Form 10K that in 2013 the company acquired four businesses for a total of $11.4 million in cash. PerkinElmer did not disclose the names of the acquired businesses.
The company reported a 4 percent increase year over year in revenues for its fourth quarter last month. Revenues for full-year 2013 rose about 2 percent year over year to $2.17 billion.

The Neverending Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a German fantasy novel by Michael Ende, first published in 1979. The standard English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was first published in 1983. The novel was later adapted into several films.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Genetic Search for Future Olympians!

This is really getting interesting, BioSaga is making history as we keep blogging!

The GATTACA SAGA! is coming to an reality! The Race has just begun! today for Olympian Genes; tomorrow may be for a pianist with pair of hands with 6 fingers each! 

There is now no limt to the human imagination there could be a new profession  as GENE ARCHITECT or a GENOME SCULPTOR! 

Beginning in 2015, Uzbekistan says it will incorporate genetic testing into its search for Olympic athletes, the Atlantic reports.

Rustam Muhamedov from Uzbekistan's Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry's genetics laboratory notes that he and his colleagues have been studying the genes of Uzbek athletes and are working on developing a set of 50 genes to determine what sport a child is best suited for.
"Developed countries throughout the world like the United States, China, and European countries are researching the human genome and have discovered genes that define a propensity for specific sports," Muhamedov tells the Atlantic. "We want to use these methods in order to help select our future champions."

The Atlantic notes that while the International Olympic Committee and international sports organizations do not ban genetic testing, the World Anti-Doping Agency discourages it.
In addition, David Epstein, the author of the book The Sports Gene, says that officials and trainers would likely better identify potential world-class athletes by using a stopwatch and timing how fast people are.

"It doesn't make much sense to do it at the genetic level at this point," Epstein tells the Atlantic. "What they are trying to do is learn about someone's physiology. If you want to learn about someone's physiology, you should test their physiology instead of the genes."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Program Initiated to Offer Whole-Exome Sequencing to Rare Disease Patients for Free

One more story in our very own GATTACA SAGA!

Patient advocacy groups Global Genes and Swan USA announced on Tuesday a program to provide whole-exome sequencing to patients with rare diseases who cannot afford such services.

Beginning March 1, Global Genes and Swan USA will provide funding for the whole-exome sequencing of about 30 undiagnosed patients in order to identify the genetic bases of their ailments. Parabase Genomics and the UCLA Clinical Genomics Center were selected as the first clinical genomic sequencing providers for the pilot project.

Global Genes is a rare and genetic disease patient advocacy group, and Swan USA provides support to families of children living with diseases and syndromes that have yet to be named. According to them, a genomic test costs between $3,500 and $5,000.

The financing for the program was raised through a donor-directed fund launched in September, and additional funding is underway in order to expand the program to include more undiagnosed patients, the partners said.

Boston-based Parabase is a privately held molecular diagnostics firm focused on genetic disorders that affect newborns and children. Its LifeTime Tests provide a rapid, non-invasive method for the diagnosis of genetic conditions, and for the Global Gene-Swan USA program Parabase will use it LifeTime RareDx Test.

"One of the challenges with translation of next-generation sequencing to newborns and children is the long time it takes to get results," Parabase CEO and Scientific Director Andy Bhattachariee said in a statement. "We have developed a complete workflow from blood to a medical report in [two to four] weeks, and our plan is to shorten this timeline to a few days."

The UCLA Clinical Genomics Center is the West Coast sequencing provider in the program.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Agilent and Picometrics Ink Deal to Provide Tools for Biopharmaceutical Characterization

Agilent said today that it has signed a co-marketing agreement with Picometrics Technologies to provide combined solutions for capillary electrophoresis, laser induced fluorescence detection, and mass spectrometry for biopharmaceutical applications.
The platform is intended for the research and development of complex large-molecule biopharmaceutical compounds, and is the only online CE-LIF-MS solution currently available, Agilent said.

"This unique technological platform using our new-generation LIF detection will significantly increase efficiency for biotherapeutic characterization in research, development and quality control," Jean Charles Garcia, president of Picometrics, said in a statement.

"We are excited to collaborate with Picometrics and provide this unique product offering to the biopharmaceutical industry — particularly those focusing on the research and development of NBEs, or new biological entities," said Michael Frank, Agilent marketing director, liquid phase separations.

Financial and other details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Life Science and Informatics

What is this?
is this a new industry?
or a old wine in a new bottle?

Well Life Sciences and Informatics can be anything form computational biology, all omes and omics, core bioinformatics to curation and literature mining, database creation, in the area of biology, chemistry , bio-chem space.

There are number of companies in India and bangalore is the forefront as a major bio-cluster with 20 to 30 companies in this sphere.

now how good are these companies doing?
how good are they in terms of the international markets and how profitable is their business?
what do they do?
their clients?

These are some interesting things that could be discussed in this blog page...

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