Stemgent has sealed the deal for its acquisition of Asterand’s human tissue business for $9 million. Stemgent officials say Asterand’s human-tissue based tools for drug and target discovery complement its own portfolio of research products and services to advance cellular reprograming and stem cell studies.

Stemgent’s offer for the Asterand unit was first announced in June. Asterand has been struggling with debt problems since it bought Bioseek, which develops human cell-based disease models, early in 2010 for $8.5 million. Asterand officials are in the process of deciding whether to sell Bioseek or let it operate as a stand-alone business.

Ian Ratcliffe, president and CEO of Stemgent, labeled the Asterand acquisition as “an important step in our efforts to build a significant research tools business focused on human cells.” Asterand’s human tissue business includes the XpressBANK™ biobank and related services and PhaseZERO™ human tissue-based drug discovery research services. The human tissue and services operations will continue under the Asterand name. The combined organizations will have 100 employees with operations in the U.S. and U.K. Stemgent plans to retain Asterand’s operations in Detroit, MI, and in Royston, U.K.

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