Invitrogen buys nucleic acid purification firm

Related tags Nucleic acid Invitrogen Dna

Invitrogen, which supplies reagents, services and software for the
life science market, has continued its acquisitive streak with the
announcement that it is paying $35 million (€27.5m) for a UK firm -
DNA Research Innovations - specialising in nucleic acid
purification technologies.

The news came as Invitrogen revealed that profit more than doubled in the third quarter of 2004, boosted by recently acquired companies Molecular Probes, BioReliance, Xeotron and Protometrix. The company has achieved more than 10-fold growth over the last five years as a result of this strategy, according to Kalorama.

Central to this approach has been a bolstering of the company's activities in drug discovery, a sector it initially entered with the purchase of PanVera/Aurora.

In addition to the upfront payment, Invitrogen may also give DRI​ as much as $30 million if certain undisclosed milestones are met in the latter's R&D programmes.

Invitrogen has bought DNA Research to gain control of its proprietary ChargeSwitch nucleic acid-purification technology (CST), which can be used with either DNA or RNA in a range of formats.

With the rise of nucleic acid amplification based technologies such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the early 1990s, existing nucleic acid based purification techniques became limiting. The market had been dominated by two technologies (anion exchange and silica-based methods) both of which were time consuming and difficult to automate.

DRI was formed in 1998 to commercialise the CST technology that uses a chemical process to provide purified nucleic acid in a fast, simple and easily automated manner.

Early last year, DRI started selling its first range of products based on CST magnetic beads for both manual and automated DNA extraction, with automation being afforded by its compatibility with a Tecan platform. Automation options from competing instrument vendors are currently being developed, Invitrogen said.

The platform is very flexible and can be used to isolate nucleic acids from a range of samples, including bacteria, tissues, blood, forensic sample and buccal cells.

Importantly this is all achieved without the use of enzyme-inhibiting reagents, which are known to compromise the efficiency of many downstream processes such as PCR, and CST can be applied to surfaces as diverse as magnetic beads, microtitre plates, columns, and cartridges, according to DRI.

"We believe the advantages of ChargeSwitch technology will provide researchers with a compelling reason to start their projects using Invitrogen products,"​ said Greg Lucier, Invitrogen's CEO, in a statement.

Revenues up by a third

Invitrogen​ reported today that it earned $28.2 million, or 52 cents per share, up from $13.7 million or 26 cents per share in the third quarter of 2003. Revenue rose 30 per cent to $256.3 million, with a 17 per cent hike in its BioDiscovery segment, helped by the acquisition of Molecular Probes. Invitrogen also said the acquisition of BioReliance boosted sales at its BioProduction segment.

Looking forward, Invitrogen said it expects to earn between 75 cents and 77 cents per share in the fourth quarter, excluding exceptional items. For the year, the company expects to earn at least $2.89 per share on sales of $1.02 billion.

Related topics Downstream Processing