Horizon Discovery Group has agreed to acquire GE Healthcare Dharmacon from parent General Electric for $85 million, creating a combined company focused on applying gene-editing and gene-modulation technologies in life science research.
Based in Lafayette, CO, Dharmacon is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric that has grown into a leading provider of RNA interference (RNAi) products, with a gene-editing product portfolio specializing in CRISPR reagents and arrayed libraries.
Horizon said its acquisition is designed to create immediate access for its next-generation research product and service offerings through Dharmacon’s eCommerce platform and established global distribution channels, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
The deal is also intended to strengthen its Cell Builders business model, which applies gene-editing and gene-modulation platforms to design, engineer, and apply cells for new treatments, Horizon added.
The acquisition “positions Horizon as a world leader in building, engineering, and modulating cells,” CFO Richard Vellacott declared to The Telegraph of London.
Added Horizon CEO Darrin Disley in a statement yesterday: “We expect that the brand recognition, and sales, marketing (including eCommerce) and distribution channel particularly in the academic community, as well as intimate relationships in biotech and pharma that Dharmacon will bring to Horizon, will transform the opportunity for Horizon’s product portfolio as well as generate attractive cost-base synergies.”
That statement did not detail the synergies or cost savings the combined company is expected to generate—though Horizon did disclose that Dharmacon finished 2016 with earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDTA) of $5.4 million on revenues of $36.7 million.
That is more than double Horizon’s 2016 revenues of £24.1 million ($31.3 million). Also last year, Horizon reduced its EBITDA loss from products and services before exceptional items to £3.8 million ($4.9 million), from £4.6 million (about $6 million) in 2015.
GE Healthcare finished 2016 with $3.161 billion in profit, up 10% from a year earlier, on $18.291 billion in revenues, a 4% increase from 2015.
“We believe that the combination creates a global leader in gene modulation and are excited to retain a meaningful stake in the combination,” GE Healthcare president and CEO Kieran Murphy added.
Horizon has agreed to pay GE $50 million cash, as well as issue 13,064,868 in new ordinary shares valued at $35 million to a GE subsidiary that would retain an 8.8% stake in the combined company. The price of those shares at placement would be 205 pence ($2.67).
The acquisition is subject to approval by Horizon shareholders, as well as antitrust clearance in the U.S.