BioWorld International Correspondent

BORNHEIM, Germany - Qiagen N.V., of Venlo, the Netherlands, entered an agreement to acquire the Tokyo-based supplier of oligonucleotides, Sawady Group, in a stock-swap deal valued at the time of the closing at approximately US$18 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen issued 854,987 shares of its common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding capital stock of Sawady Technology Co. Ltd. and Omgen Co. Ltd., as well as a majority position in Accord Co. Ltd.

The Sawady Group employs more than 40 people. For the year 2000, the group recorded net sales of approximately US$10 million, and a net income of US$900,000.

Solveigh Mdhler, investor relations manager at Qiagen's principal operating subsidiary in Hilden, Germany, said that, considering "the enormous opportunities Sawady will open to Qiagen in the Japanese genomics markets," the price for Sawady's shares "seems to be very reasonable."

Mdhler said Qiagen's products address the academic and industrial research market, and more commercial markets including genomics, molecular diagnostics and gene therapy. In June 2000, Qiagen acquired Operon Technologies Inc., of Alameda, Calif., a leading company in the U.S. market for synthetic nucleic acids such as oligonucleotides, synthetic genes and related products.

Qiagen said it expects that the acquisition of Sawady Group will accelerate Qiagen's penetration of the Japanese market for synthetic nucleic acids. Qiagen said it intends "to leverage Operon's technology-leading position in synthetic nucleic acids with the strong market position that the Sawady Group has created in Japan."

Revenues from synthetic nucleic acids in Qiagen's year 2000 contributed approximately US$20 million. Revenues totaled more than US$204 million.

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