QIAGEN N.V. has announced its acquisition of ESE GmbH, a privately owned developer and manufacturer of UV and fluorescence optical measurement devices. ESE GmbH is based in Stockach, Germany. The cash transaction is valued at up to US$19 million.
ESE is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of optical measurement systems for medical and industrial applications. The systems utilise unique, high-performance and award-winning fluorescence detection technologies integrated into compact modules. ESE's solutions are seen as an emerging standard in the detection of fluorescent signals in a wide range of molecular testing applications, most notably in nucleic acid-based point-of-need testing. In addition to portable solutions for point-of-need testing, these miniaturised, low-cost fluorescence detection modules can also be integrated into laboratory instruments.
The systems' "ultra-fast time to result" and high portability open up new opportunities in healthcare and applied testing (e.g. veterinary medicine, biodefence, environmental and food testing). The systems enable low-throughput molecular testing in GP practices, emergency rooms, remote field areas, and other settings where a laboratory infrastructure is not accessible and fast turnaround is required.
ESE's fluorescence detection systems can be battery operated and can process up to eight samples simultaneously, even enabling samples to be tested for several parameters in a single run (multiplex testing). As the proprietary technology enables the detection modules to be manufactured at very low cost, the complete solutions can sell for under US$2,000 per unit - significantly less than other comparable testing systems.
QIAGEN has demonstrated that ESE's fluorescence detection systems can be used to measure signals generated by the company's existing testing technologies, including the HDA and tHDA isothermal assay systems, which QIAGEN licensed from BioHelix in 2008. These isothermal assay technologies are an integral part of QIAGEN's next generation screening platform QIAensemble. Assay development for the fluorescence detection systems therefore stands to benefit from ongoing research activities for the QIAensemble platform.
QIAGEN has also verified the suitability of ESE's systems for running HDA-based assays on bacterial and viral pathogens including Salmonella and E. coli bacteria as well as Influenza viruses. Analysis can be performed directly on samples (i.e., from crude blood) or following an upfront sample preparation step integrated into the devices using QIAGEN's proven sample technologies. Depending on the target, such assays can generate results in 5 to 15 minutes. This is a key breakthrough that allows the platform to meet the most important requirement in point-of-need testing: ultra-fast time to result.
The transaction is part of QIAGEN's strategy of expanding its technology leadership and of driving the dissemination of molecular sample and assay technologies into everyday life. It not only adds a novel detection platform to QIAGEN's portfolio of assay technologies, but also creates options for point-of-need testing solutions in select markets. QIAGEN plans to develop and offer such solutions for a broad range of molecular diagnostic segments in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In the United States, QIAGEN is planning to focus on select application fields such as acute care (emergency rooms, mobile testing) and critical care areas where rapid turnaround and/or portable solutions are required. These segments have very little overlap with QIAGEN's current markets in the United States in terms of customers and assay portfolio.
QIAGEN expects to make its first submissions for regulatory approval of corresponding assays following the launch of clinical systems after 2011. QIAGEN sees a significant opportunity in the developing world for expanding the technology in infectious disease testing with point-of-need options. Together with PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, QIAGEN has already developed a special version of its HPV test for public health programmes in low-resource and developing countries that can be performed without electricity or running water and produces detection results within 2.5 hours.
In addition, QIAGEN believes that there are several areas in applied testing which offer significant potential for point-of-need testing solutions. These include animal, food and environmental safety testing, where portability and the ability to be placed in diverse locations are key requirements that the platform addresses perfectly.
"We are excited about the addition of ESE's capabilities and technology portfolio. We believe it will considerably strengthen QIAGEN's portfolio of detection technologies and help us to better address the needs of our existing customers in a range of application fields. In addition, thanks to the unique features of ESE's technology, this transaction allows QIAGEN to synergistically apply our sample and assay technologies to the exciting, emerging point-of-need testing market segment," said Peer Schatz, QIAGEN's CEO. "QIAGEN has always driven the dissemination of molecular biology. With this new technology portfolio, we now have the opportunity to shape a new dimension for molecular testing," Peer Schatz continued.
"The deal suits us very well," said Klaus Haberstroh, founder and CEO of ESE GmbH. "With its leadership in molecular sample and assay technologies, QIAGEN is the ideal partner to capitalise on our development and engineering know-how and take our technology to the next level".
QIAGEN will establish ESE's development and manufacturing site in Stockach as a Centre of Excellence in Detection Development where it intends to retain and expand the employee base.
QIAGEN anticipates that the one-time costs in connection with this acquisition will not exceed US$500,000 in 2010. The transaction is expected to contribute approximately US$6 million in sales in 2010. On an adjusted basis excluding one-time costs, integration and restructuring costs, and amortisation of acquisition related intangible assets, the acquisition is expected to be neutral to EPS in 2010.
QIAGEN N.V., a Dutch holding company, is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue. Assay technologies are used to make these isolated biomolecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and currently markets more than 500 sample and assay products along with automated solutions for its consumables. The company's products are sold to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and pharmaceutical process control.
QIAGEN's assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This panel includes the digene HPV Test, which is regarded as a "gold standard" in testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer, as well as a broad suite of solutions for infectious disease testing and companion diagnostics. QIAGEN employs more than 3,400 people in over 30 locations worldwide.
About ESE GmbH
ESE GmbH is a technology enterprise focused on the development and OEM manufacturing of innovative optical measurement devices for medical, environmental and industrial applications. The company is based in Stockach and employs a staff of 36.