QIAGEN Signs Agreement for the Acquisition of eGene



    Strategic Transaction Adds Capillary Sample Separation Technology

    VENLO, The Netherlands, April 12 /CNW/ - QIAGEN N.V. (Nasdaq:   QGEN;
Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA), the world's leading provider of sample and
assay technologies for research in life sciences, applied testing and
molecular diagnostics, today announced that its subsidiary QIAGEN North
American Holdings, Inc. has signed a definitive merger agreement with eGene,
Inc. (Nasdaq OTC/BB: EGEI) pursuant to which eGene would become a fully owned
subsidiary of QIAGEN North American Holdings, Inc. eGene is an early-stage
company located in Irvine, California, that has developed and is
commercializing a patented sample separation and analysis technology based on
capillary electrophoresis. The transaction has been approved by the boards of
directors of both companies and is expected to close, subject to regulatory
and stockholder approvals and customary closing conditions, in the third
quarter of 2007.
    eGene has developed a multi-channel sample separation and analysis
technology for nucleic acids that includes an affordable and robust
instrument, software analysis package, and a selection of consumable
cartridges specifically designed for specific high value applications in the
molecular diagnostic and research markets. The HDA-GT12(TM) Genetic Analyzer
is a revolutionary multi-capillary system which incorporates many capabilities
into one easy to use platform, integrating automatic sample loading,
separation, and data analysis.
    The HDA system significantly improves the workflow and increases the
productivity of medium to high throughput laboratories. No longer does the lab
technician have to pour and wait for slab gels to solidify or laboriously load
each nucleic acid sample into the gel individually. With the HDA system, the
technician simply loads a 96 well plate containing the samples, sets the
software specification and then walks away while the instrument automatically
loads and processes the samples. At the end of the experiment, the technician
can access a graphic representation of the collected digital data, giving
accurate information of the DNA fragments (targeted genetic variants) with a
separation in high resolution (2-5 bp) quality.
    Currently, eGene's consumable cartridges are available for a number of
research applications, including formats addressing the Human Leukocyte
Antigen (HLA) testing market, genetic testing including microsatellite
analyses, DNA post-PCR separation and analysis at different resolutions, and
RNA integrity quality control. eGene's product offering is therefore highly
synergistic with QIAGEN's sample and assay technologies.
    For example, in the market for transplantation-related (HLA) molecular
diagnostics, eGene's consumable facilitate the use of QIAGEN's SSP PCR-based
molecular diagnostics for HLA. The QIAGEN SSP HLA product line is IVD CE
marked for clinical diagnostic use in the European Union and is for research
use only in the US and Canada. Customers in the HLA market prepare what are
often large numbers of conventional slab gels each month which they load with
the samples on which the QIAGEN HLA assays have been performed to identify and
match donors and recipients prior to organ transplantation. The eGene system
now offers QIAGEN's customers in HLA testing the opportunity to automate the
tedious, manual preparation and loading of slab gels. In addition the
full-featured software analysis and result documentation represents a
significant advantage in this diagnostic environment.
    Next generation products will most likely include an expanded menu of
products targeting use in research in applied testing and molecular
diagnostics and may be combined with the Company's recently acquired QIAplex
technology. With the QIAGEN QIAplex multiplex test technologies a patient
sample can potentially be tested against multiple pathogens at the same time
to rapidly determine the origin of the infection. QIAplex products are
currently available as research use only products for the investigation of
respiratory (ResPlex(TM) I; II, III), hospital-acquired, and bacterial
(StaphPlex(TM)) infections as well as additional panels for other pathogens.
    "eGene has developed a sample separation system for nucleic acid
processing that is both affordable and robust," said Peer M. Schatz, QIAGEN's
Chief Executive Officer. "With the eGene system, we are adding a consumable
and instrument line which provides quality control capabilities following the
use of sample technologies as well as a readout system for our assay
technologies in one platform. The combination of novel and patented multiplex
fluorescence detection designs with solid-state light sources and
micro-optical collectors creates an advantage over conventional gel-based
sample separation technologies. The eGene system permits a new dimension of
ease of use and automation, freeing up the researcher's time for more
important endeavors."
    "The eGene solutions leverage and seamlessly combine with QIAGEN sample
and assay technologies and create novel and highly attractive molecular
diagnostics solutions to our customers in research in clinical research,
applied testing and molecular diagnostics," Peer M. Schatz continued. "QIAGEN
provides a comprehensive direct-sales and service channel as well as a
complete and complementary product portfolio to increase the value for
customers in these market segments."
    Under the terms of the agreement, QIAGEN North American Holdings, Inc.
will offer $0.65 in cash and 0.0416 common shares of QIAGEN stock per share of
eGene stock. The aggregate purchase consideration amounts to approximately
$34.0 million (based on the average closing prices of QIAGEN stock on the
NASDAQ Global Select Market for the 20 trading days ending on April 12, 2007).
Based on preliminary analyses and assuming the transaction closes early in the
third quarter of 2007, QIAGEN expects this transaction to contribute
approximately US$2 million in sales in the second half of 2007 and roughly
US$7-$9 million in sales for the full year of 2008. QIAGEN expects to incur
one-time charges of approximately US$0.01 in EPS at closing, expected in the
third quarter 2007. These charges primarily relate to in-process research and
development and the write-off of certain assets. On an adjusted basis
excluding one-time charges, integration and restructuring costs and
amortization of acquired IP, the acquisition is expected to reduce EPS in the
second half of 2007 by approximately US$0.01 and to be neutral to earnings in
2008. Beyond 2008, revenues for this product line are expected to grow rapidly
and contribute significant accretion to net income as the instrument base
expands rapidly and drives increasing consumable usage.
    "We are very pleased and excited to join forces with QIAGEN - the leading
provider of sample technologies, nucleic acid assays technologies and
molecular diagnostic assays. Together, the companies can address their
customers' entire work flow in molecular testing applications such as HLA and
molecular diagnostics, from sample to answer with solutions from a single
source. Given the leadership in molecular diagnostic technologies and sales,
marketing and operational resources, we believe the combined companies can
expand and accelerate the availability of our technologies into the market and
into the hands of more customers and in addition, to benefit mankind," said
Ming S. Liu, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of eGene.

    
    Financial Highlights of the Transaction:

    -   Merger agreement signed on April 12, 2007.
    -   Transaction expected to close early in the third quarter of 2007.
    -   Entered into binding voting agreement with management and key
        shareholders.
    -   Expected to add revenues of approximately US$2 million in second half
        of 2007.
    -   Expected to incur one-time charges of approximately US$0.01 in EPS at
        closing, expected in the third quarter 2007.
    -   Expected to reduce adjusted EPS in the second half of 2007 by
        approximately US$0.01 and to be neutral in 2008.
    -   No material change to QIAGEN's expected margins.
    -   Early-stage company rapidly commercializing its technology.
    

    Additional Information:

    QIAGEN intends to file a registration statement on Form F-4 containing a
joint proxy statement/prospectus in connection with the transaction. The proxy
statement/prospectus will be mailed to the stockholders of eGene to consider
and vote upon the proposed merger. Investors and security holders are urged to
read the proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials filed with
the SEC when they become available because they will contain important
information about the transaction and other related matters. Investors and
security holders may obtain free copies of these documents (when they become
available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC's web site at
www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free
copies of the documents filed with the SEC by eGene Investor Relations and for
free from QIAGEN by directing a request to QIAGEN Investor Relations.

    Participants in the Transaction:

    QIAGEN, eGene and their respective executive officers, directors and
other members of management or employees may be deemed to be participants in
the solicitation of proxies from eGene stockholders with respect to the
transactions contemplated by the merger agreement. Information regarding
QIAGEN's executive officers and directors is available in QIAGEN's Annual
Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2006, which has been filed
with the SEC. Information regarding eGene's officers and directors is
available in eGene's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended
December 31, 2006 which will be filed with the SEC shortly. You can obtain
free copies of these documents from QIAGEN and eGene, respectively, using the
contact information above. Additional information regarding interests of such
participants will be included in the registration statement containing the
proxy statement/prospectus that will be filed with the SEC and available free
of charge as indicated above.
    In addition, in connection with the execution of the merger agreement,
Ming S. Liu, Ph.D. eGene's Chief Executive Officer, Varoujan Amirkhanian,
eGene's Executive Vice President and Director, and Peter Sheu, eGene's Chief
Financial Officer, have entered into letter agreements with QIAGEN setting
forth the terms under which these individuals will continue their employment
with QIAGEN following the transaction. Additional information regarding these
arrangements and the interests of such participants will be included in the
registration statement containing the proxy statement/prospectus that will be
filed with the SEC and available free of charge as indicated above. Directors
and officers of eGene have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the
transaction.

    About QIAGEN:

    QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the worldwide leading
provider of sample and assay technologies for research in life sciences,
applied testing and molecular diagnostics. The products are considered
standards in areas such as pre-analytical sample preparation and molecular
diagnostics solutions. QIAGEN has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more
than 500 proprietary, consumable products and automated solutions for sample
collection, nucleic acid and protein handling, separation, and purification
and open and target specific assays. The company's products are sold to
academic research markets, to leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology
companies, to applied testing customers (such as in forensics, veterinary,
bio-defense and industrial applications) as well as to molecular diagnostics
laboratories. QIAGEN employs more than 1,950 people worldwide. QIAGEN products
are sold through a dedicated sales force and a global network of distributors
in more than 40 countries. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at
www.qiagen.com.

    About eGene:

    eGene developed the HDA-GT12(TM) (High-performance DNA Analyzer) for
genotyping using 12 channels. The system analyzes the genetic fingerprints of
living organisms while performing fast DNA sample screening and
high-resolution DNA fragment analysis (2-5 bp). The System also analyzes the
quality and quantity of RNA in the gene expression market. The Company sells
cartridges that are specific to the type of analysis to be performed. All data
is then received in digital form for appropriate transmission and storage.
eGene (www.egeneinc.com) focuses on its core technologies of capillary
electrophoresis, liquid handling and automation to develop and manufacture
low-cost microfluidic, miniaturized digital analyzer systems, software and
consumables for biological materials testing applications. These products
detect, quantify, identify and characterize biomolecules including DNA and RNA
at high rates of specificity and sensitivity while automating routine and
non-routine laboratory and industrial procedures critical to product safety,
development quality and productivity.

    Certain of the statements contained in this news release may be
considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the
U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S.
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are typically
preceded by words such as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends,"
"will," "may," "should," or similar expressions. To the extent that any of the
statements contained herein are forward-looking, such statements are based on
current expectations that involve a number of uncertainties and risks that may
cause actual future experience and results to differ materially from those
discussed in these forward-looking statements. Such uncertainties and risks
include, but are not limited to, the ability of eGene to obtain stockholder
approval of the transaction; the possibility that the transaction will not
close or that the closing will be delayed; the challenges and costs of
integrating the operations and personnel of eGene; reaction of customers of
eGene and QIAGEN and related risks of maintaining pre-existing relationships
of eGene and QIAGEN; the impact of acquisitions and divestitures on the
synergies of QIAGEN's programs; competitive factors, including pricing
pressures; the success of research and development activities; and other
events and factors disclosed previously and from time to time in QIAGEN's and
eGene's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including
QIAGEN's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2006 and
eGene's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2006
which will be filed with the SEC shortly. Except for QIAGEN's and eGene's
ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the federal
securities laws, QIAGEN and eGene disclaim any obligation to update any
forward-looking statements after the date of this document.
    This document is not an offer to sell shares of QIAGEN common stock which
may be issued in the proposed merger. Such QIAGEN common stock is offered only
by means of the proxy statement/prospectus referred to herein.





For further information:

For further information: Peer M. Schatz, Chief Executive Officer, QIAGEN
N.V., e-mail: peer.schatz@QIAGEN.com; Dr. Solveigh Mahler, Director Investor
Relations, QIAGEN N.V., +49-2103-29-11710, e-mail:
solveigh.maehler@QIAGEN.com

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QIAGEN N.V.

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