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Qiagen Closes Cellestis Acquisition

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Recently, Qiagen (NasdaqGS: QGEN - News) completed the acquisition of Australia-based Cellestis Limited. Although the deal to acquire Cellestis was announced initially in April 2011, in July, Qiagen increased the offer price by 7% to $4.06 (A$3.80) per share.

With this acquisition, Qiagen is expected to gain access to Cellestis’ proprietary QuantiFERON technology, an innovative disease diagnostic tool.  QuantiFERON has been commercialized by Cellestis with already marketed tests and its flagship product QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT) for detection of latent tuberculosis (TB). Moreover, another product, QuantiFERON-CMV test, which is in early stages of commercialization, monitors the disease risk of life-threatening CMV virus. This patent-protected platform technology enables quick detection of the diseases compared to other traditional DNA-based molecular tests.

Qiagen expects QuantiFERON to enhance Qiagen's molecular diagnostics portfolio and will also drive the use of traditional DNA and RNA-based molecular diagnostics. QuantiFERON is expected to be beneficial for Qiagen’s current assay portfolio and pipeline while relocating and combining with products like QIAsymphony, QIAensemble and other relevant needs. 

Strategically, Qiagen is focusing on expanding its molecular diagnostics product portfolio (contributing 46% of total sales in second quarter of 2011), which recorded a 2% year-over-year growth banking on solid growth in consumables, partly offset by lower instrument sales. However, with improving trends in the US, sales are expected to increase in the coming quarters based on higher patient visits to physician offices. Moreover, Personalized Healthcare is expanding due to higher companion diagnostic sales in Europe and co-development projects with pharmaceutical companies.

Moreover, Qiagen is adopting aggressive acquisition strategy in order to widen its scope and strengthen its position in the competitive landscape with major players like Life Technologies (NasdaqGS: LIFE - News) and Sigma-Aldrich (NasdaqGS: SIAL - News).

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