Qiagen is in exclusive negotiations to purchase cancer molecular diagnostics firm Ipsogen for €70 million (about $101 million) in cash. The deal under discussion would be effected in two stages. Qiagen would initially sign a definitive purchase agreement to acquire 47% of Ipsogen at €12.90 per share. Once this stage is completed, the Dutch firm would then launch an offer to acquire the remainder of Ipsogen, also at €12.90 per share.
The per share price represents a 71.3% premium on Ipsogen’s stock value immediately prior to announcement of the buyout negotiations. Based on current estimates, the €70 million overall value of the deal equates to roughly six times Ipsogen’s anticipated full-year 2012 net sales. The firm reported net sales of €8.4 million (about $11 million) in 2010, up 24% on 2009 figures.
Acquisition of France-based Ipsogen would provide Qiagen with a range of assays covering 15 biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring of blood cancers. The firm says a number of the tests are used as companion diagnostics for guiding treatment decisions.
“This portfolio would further increase our leading position in profiling assays, as well as in companion diagnostics for personalized healthcare,” comments Peer Schatz, Qiagen CEO. "Ipsogen’s molecular cancer profiling and personalized healthcare assays are clearly setting standards for the diagnosis and monitoring of many types of blood cancers as well as the selection and guidance of therapies.”
Most of Ipsogen’s assays have been granted a CE-IVD mark in Europe, and can be used on Qiagen’s Rotor-Gene Q real-time PCR system, which would facilitate the transfer of the products onto the firm’s automated sample-to-result QIAsymphony RGQ laboratory platform. The QIAsymphony platform incorporates the Rotor-Gene Q system.
If the acquisition is completed, Ipsogen’s Marseilles site would become a global center of excellence within Qiagen focused on leukemia and breast cancer, and act as a development and manufacturing center for other molecular tests.
Ipsogen specializes in the development of cancer profiling and personalized healthcare diagnostics in the blood cancers field. The tests are based on the same quantitative PCR technology used by Qiagen in a number of its own assays. The firm’s portfolio currently comprises 80 tests for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring, divided into four assay families: BCR-ABL for chronic myeloid leukemia, JAK V617F for various myeloproliferative diseases, PML-RAR for promyelocytic leukemia, and a group of products for rare forms of leukemia. The firm is in addition developing a multigene Genomic Grade Test for the diagnosis of early invasive hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.
The JAK2 assays currently represent Ipsogen’s top-selling product group, and and include tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of JAK2 mutations in various blood cancers. The firm says it has a competitive advantage in this field as it holds an exclusive worldwide license to a key mutation in the JAK2 gene.
In April Ipsogen signed a Japanese distribution deal with Sysmex for a number of its blood cancer products. The agreement covers regulatory submission of Ipsogen assays for the diagnosis and monitoring of BCR-ABL and JAK2 to the Japanese Health Authorities, and gives Sysmex exclusive rights to sell these products in Japan.