Qiagen Acquires CLC Bio

Qiagen has acquired CLC Bio, a privately held bioinformatics software company headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark. The news was first reported on AllSeq’s blog.


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This is the second bioinformatics company that Qiagen has purchased this year. In May, it bought Ingenuity Systems for $105 million in cash to offer its life science and clinical customers a complete and integrated workflow for its PCR- and next-generation sequencing-based molecular testing solutions (BI 5/3/2013).

Qiagen has been making some interesting moves lately, slowly building an end to end sequencing solution. They’ve already established themselves as the market leaders in sample prep, but then they started acquiring the missing pieces. First they bought Intelligent BioSystems in June 2012, giving them access to a sequencing platform built with the clinical market in mind (fairly standard SBS chemistry, relatively fast runs and multiple flow cells to obviate the need for sample multiplexing). Then they acquired Ingenuity in April 2013, giving them another piece of the puzzle – the ‘genome interpretation’ part.

So they can isolate the DNA and RNA, they can prepare sequencing libraries (for Illumina and Ion Torrent, since their own ‘GeneReader’ isn’t out yet) and they can perform variant analysis on the data. The piece they’re still missing is the data analysis part (which generates the variant list that feeds into Ingenuity’s Variant Analysis™ program). So…

We’ve been hearing a couple of rumors that maybe they plugged that gap, specifically through the acquisition of CLC bio. We couldn’t find anything about this on the web, so we decided to just ask. We called up a couple of people at CLC bio and, after a little bit of “Er, um, why do you want to know?”, we got the official confirmation – CLC bio was acquired by Qiagen! They wouldn’t confirm exactly when this happened (probably sometime this summer) or for how much (for reference, Ingenuity was acquired for $105M). [Edit – CLC bio has made it clear that they will continue to support all major sequencing platforms in the future.]

We’re not sure why they aren’t talking about this more as it seems like a pretty big deal to us – Qiagen is rapidly building the end to end solution that no one other company seems to have. Illumina currently has a stranglehold on the high throughput market and controls at least half of the desktop market (with Ion Torrent picking up the other half). Is Qiagen’s ‘one stop shop’ solution going to be the key to shaking up the leaders? We’re not sure, but we can’t wait to find out!

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