Company aims to exploit miniaturized technology for point-of-care testing in multiple fields.

Qiagen is buying Germany-based UV and fluorescence sensor technology company ESE for $19 million in cash. ESE’s development and manufacturing site in Stockach will be established and expanded as a Qiagen Center of Excellence in Detection Development.

ESE has designed a sensitive and mobile miniaturized, low-cost fluorescence detection technology that can be incorporated into a range of products for applications including point-of-care diagnsotics as well as food and environmental testing. The company has already exploited the technology through a range of products including the ESE-Quant Lateral Flow Immunoassay Reader, ESE-Quant Tube Scanner, ESE Log fluorescence detector for the measurement of up to two fluorescent dyes, and the Fluo Sens integrated scanner for use in small, mobile fluorescence detection systems.

Peer Schatz, Qiagen CEO, says that the company believes ESE’s technology portfolio will considerably strengthen Qiagen’s portfolio of detection technologies. “In addition, due to the unique features of ESE’s technology, this transaction allows Qiagen to synergistically apply our sample and assay technologies to the exciting, emerging point-of-need testing market segment.” 

Qiagen maintains that it has already demonstrated that ESE’s fluorescence detection systems can be used to measure signals generated by its existing platforms including the HDA (helicase-dependant amplification) and tHDA isothermal assay systems, which it licensed from BioHelix in 2008. The HDA and tHDA platforms are integral to Qiagen’s next-generation screening platform, QIAensemble.

The company says it has verified the ability of ESE’s systems to run HDA-based assays for a number of pathogens including Salmonella and E.coli as well as flu viruses. The technology allows analyses to be performed directly on samples including crude blood or following up-front sample-preparation steps integrated into the devices. Results can be generated in 5 to 15 minutes, the firm states.

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