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GEN News Highlights : Apr 5, 2012

GE Snags Sequencing Services Firm SeqWright

Deal complements gene- and protein-expression profiling capabilities.

GE Healthcare has acquired SeqWright, a provider of nucleic acid sequencing and other genomic services. The acquisition adds complementary next-generation sequencing capabilities to GE’s Clarient unit’s gene- and protein-expression profiling offerings.

In 2010, SeqWright added the Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencing system and informatics software to its already established Roche 454 GS FLX Titanium, Applied Biosystems SOLiD 4 sequencing platforms, and multiple sequence-capture and target-enrichment technologies. For target enrichment, SeqWright recently introduced its RainDance Technologies capabilities as well as certified service provider status for Agilent Sureselect. SeqWright is also an authorized service provider for NimbleGen capture arrays.

SeqWright also has ongoing separate projects with Roche Applied Science and Eli Lilly. With Roche it is working to identify genetic factors implicated in dilated cardiomyopathy. The research is leveraging technologies from the Roche companies, NimbleGen, and 454 Life Sciences. SeqWright is helping Lilly find genetic variants associated with various psychiatric diseases using Roche technologies including NimbleGen sequence capture technology and 454’s Genome Sequencer FLX System.

“Sequencing, including next-generation DNA sequencing, is an important technology for GE’s medical diagnostics business,” notes Carrie Eglinton-Manner, CEO, Clarient. “The acquisition of a specialized laboratory with long-standing expertise in the sequencing field as well as an established customer base allows us immediate entry into this high-growth space and is an ideal complement to Clarient’s existing protein- and gene-expression profiling in support of pharmaceutical and in vitro diagnostic studies.”

Fei Lu, president and CEO of SeqWright, says, “As a CLIA-certified service provider, we are in a position to capitalize on the growing role next- and third -generation DNA sequencing technologies will play in clinical diagnostics. This partnership will put us in a position to apply the power of new direct detection technologies to clinical and companion diagnostics, potentially revolutionizing the way healthcare decisions are made.”

GE Healthcare picked up Clarient back in October 2010 for $5.00 per common share and $20.00 per preferred share. The deal was valued at approximately $580 million. Clarient combines diagnostic technologies with pathology expertise to assess and characterize cancer. It is focused on developing novel, diagnostic markers and tests for the profiling of breast, lung, colon, melanoma, and blood-based cancers. Since 2007, Clarient says that its revenues have grown at an approximate 30% compounded annual growth rate.