In a move intended to broaden both its internal development efforts and its services to OEM diagnostics manufacturers, Invitrogen unveiled plans to acquire Dynal Biotech, a private developer of molecular separation and purification technologies, from its majority owner, Nordic Capital, and a co-investor for about NOK2.5 billion (US$380 million).

Dynal, of Oslo, Norway, focuses on magnetic bead technologies, with those technologies used in cell separation and purification, cell stimulation, protein research, nucleic acid research and microbiology.

Sean George, vice president of diagnostic tools and solutions for Invitrogen, said that the company "is always on the lookout for premier technologies and premier brands in our industry," and that the Dynal purchase extends that strategy.

Dynal, he said, offers "the premier brand name in magnetic bead separation. They pioneered the field of microspheres and magnetic microspheres, and we intend to take this technology and utilize it throughout our applications and product development."

With the addition, the emphasis for Invitrogen, George said, will be a balance between internal new product development and acting as "a premier partner with companies engaged in developing diagnostic tools and assays and marketing those tests in hospitals."

Invitrogen said the acquisition will give it bead-based isolation technologies that can be used across the company's portfolio of technology products.

Dynal manufactures the Dynabead system, enabling production of uniform spherical microparticles that are super-paramagnetic, meaning they exhibit magnetic properties only when placed within a magnetic field. Dynal treats the surface of those particles with chemical groups and biological materials useful in research.

Dynabead's "smart" surface technology can be applied to many of Invitrogen's products, the company said, to produce "expanded sets of matched reagent solutions around genes, antibodies, enzymes, cell culture media and detection products, with uses in various research areas, including stem cell and cell therapy applications, as well as new products supporting molecular diagnostics."

Invitrogen said that the isolation and detection capabilities of Dynabeads also will enable it to provide new R&D targets in the areas of assay development, RNA interference, DNA cloning and proteomic analysis.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

Besides its bead systems and technologies, Dynal also develops tissue-typing systems used to ensure compatibility between donors and recipients in organ and bone marrow transplants.

Dynal holds 13 patents, 21 patent applications, 12 registered trademarks and 10 trademark applications. The company committed about 13 percent of revenues to research and development in 2004, supporting Invitrogen's goal of spending 10 percent of revenues on research and development. Dynal employs more than 400 professionals in Norway, the U.S., the UK and China.

Dynal is expected to generate revenues of roughly $74 million for the period April through December 2005. Invitrogen said it expects the transaction to be accretive by 7 cents a share in 2005 and 24 cents a share in 2006.

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