Affymetrix Pushes Into Diagnostics, Acquiring eBioscience for $330M

11/30/11Follow @xconomy

Gene chip pioneer Affymetrix is continuing its push into becoming more of a diagnostics player, through a sizable acquisition announced today.

Santa Clara-based Affymetrix (NASDAQ: AFFX) said today it has agreed to acquire San Diego-based eBioscience for $330 million in cash. Through this deal, Affymetrix is getting eBioscience’s flow cytometer instruments (which count cells in biological samples) and chemical reagents that are used in diagnostics for immune disorders and cancer. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year, Affymetrix said.

Affymetrix has seen its revenues decline over the past couple years, as its traditional gene expression microarray tests have faced fierce competition. The company reported $310 million in sales a year ago, and notes that eBioscience, a private company, is expected to generate about $70 million in sales this year. By acquiring eBioscience, Affymetrix said it will now be able to crack into significant new revenue streams “in the key post-genomic applications of immunology, oncology, cell biology, stem cell biology, and diagnostics.”

“Affymetrix’s proposed acquisition of eBioscience represents a major step in transforming the company and specifically moving it away from a microarray business and into areas like translational diagnostics,” said Quintin Lai, an analyst with Robert W. Baird, in a note to clients this morning. “While we view as positive that the deal has an attractive financial profile, the price appears full and could limit the company’s flexibility in the near term for future deals.”

Affymetrix has secured a $190 million financing commitment to help it complete the deal, by tapping GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services, Silicon Valley Bank, CIT Healthcare, and CIT Bank.

Affymetrix said in today’s statement it plans to keep eBioscience’s management team and operations in San Diego.

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