Addition of automated nucleic acid sample prep technology is expected to boost PerkinElmer’s reach.

PerkinElmer acquired chemagen Biopolymer-Technologie to raise its presence in the molecular diagnostics and research markets. Among chemagen’s products is an automated nucleic acid sample preparation solution. The two companies have worked together for years, with PerkinElmer previously joining with chemagen to provide automated liquid-handling platforms with DNA-preparation capabilities.

Chemagen’s M-PVA Magnetic Bead technology facilitates purification of DNA, RNA, or viral DNA/RNA. Its MSM I instrument enables the automated separation of nucleic acids from sample volumes between 10 μl and 10 ml. Another sample separator, the benchtop walk-away Prepito, works with up to 1,000 µl sample material and 1–12 samples in parallel. Chemagen also makes kits for isolation and purification of nucleic acids from blood, serum/plasma, tissue, saliva, buccal swabs, amniotic fluid, and feces.

“Our ability to provide automated nucleic acid isolation technologies through this acquisition significantly facilitates applications such as large-scale pathogen detection in blood banking, human genetics applications such as HLA typing, autoimmune analysis, and tissue rejection analysis,” states Daniel R. Marshak, Ph.D., CSO and president, emerging diagnostics, PerkinElmer. “chemagen is a natural fit with our business.”

Founded in December 1997, chemagen commercializes science developed at the Rheinisch-Westfälisch-Technische-Hochschule (RWTH) Technical University of Aachen. Chemagen’s U.S. subsidiary was founded in July 2009.

Chemagen says that it has been profitable for several years and has grown at a significant rate. Publicly traded PerkinElmer finished the fourth quarter of last year with net income of $288.5 million, up from nearly $40 million in the final three months of 2009. But PerkinElmer generated a pre-tax gain of $315.3 million in Q4 2010 by selling its Illumination and Detection Solutions business, reflected in the company’s results from discontinued operations. PerkinElmer’s revenue from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2010 was $470.0 million, up 10 percent from the year-ago quarter.

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