Bio-Rad is acquiring Ciphergen’s proteomics instrument business, which includes Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization (SELDI) technology, ProteinChip® Arrays, and accompanying software. Bio-Rad will pay about $20 million in cash and will also make a $3-million equity investment in Ciphergen.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bio-Rad will manufacture, sell, and market the SELDI technology for biomarker discovery and validation. Ciphergen wil retain exclusive rights to the diagnostics market. The companies will collaborate to identify SELDI customers interested in partnering with Ciphergen to commercialize biomarker discoveries. In addition, Ciphergen will have a supply agreement with Bio-Rad to purchase SELDI instruments and consumables for the continued development of its diagnostics business.

Following the transaction, Ciphergen will have approximately 40 employees dedicated to commercializing diagnostic tests, primarily in oncology with an initial focus on ovarian and prostate cancer. Ciphergen says it has entered a three-year strategic alliance with Quest Diagnostics in 2005 to develop and commercialize novel proteomic diagnostic tests from its pipeline, including the first proteomics-based test for ovarian cancer.

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