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Life Technologies to acquire BioTrove

Carlsbad-based Life Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq: LIFE) has agreed to acquire BioTrove Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

BioTrove’s primary technology is the OpenArray platform, a high throughput gene expression and genotyping analysis system based on a flexible array format that enables researchers to perform more than 3,000 PCR genotyping or qPCR gene expression assays at a time.

The OpenArray platform has the flexibility to allow for samples to be validated against a large target panel, or a larger quantity of samples to be screened against select validated targets.

The technology is also used in applied markets, such as pathogen testing, and may enable future digital PCR applications.

“BioTrove’s technology is an important addition to our extensive PCR portfolio,” said Greg Lucier, chairman and chief executive of Life Technologies, in a statement. “This acquisition and other enhancements recently made to our PCR offerings enable us to remain the leader in this space.”

With the OpenArray platform, Life Technologies and its Applied Biosystems subsidiary will be able to provide greater assay content in a higher density format.

Applied Biosystems currently offers an expansive inventory of gold standard TaqMan assays, more than 1.1 million for gene expression and 4.5 million for genotyping applications.

Both customer-specified and pre-defined panels of TaqMan assays will be available for the OpenArray platform under the Applied Biosystems brand. The format requires no additional investment by customers in costly liquid handling automation.

This acquisition builds on a collaboration that Applied Biosystems entered into with BioTrove in 2007. At that time, Applied Biosystems assumed responsibility for commercialization of the OpenArray business for genotyping applications.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Life Technologies does not expect this transaction to have a material effect on its financials in fiscal year 2009.

Life Technologies has made a number of announcements related to its PCR business in recent months. In September, the company launched the MeltDoctor High-Resolution Melt Reagents, for research use only, as part of a PCR-based workflow that enables researchers to scan DNA from a variety of biological sample types to detect the smallest genetic variations.

It also announced that it has purchased Cytonix Corporation for intellectual property related to digital PCR technology.

In April, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing qualified laboratories to run the CDC’s H1N1 detection assay on an Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR Instrument or the 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR Instrument.

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