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Qiagen to acquire molecular testing assets from Formulatrix

Qiagen NV agreed to acquire certain molecular testing assets from Formulatrix Inc., a privately held supplier of software and robotic automation solutions to drugmakers.

The transaction is worth up to $260 million, comprising $125 million up front and milestones of up to $135 million.

The deal covers Waltham, Mass.-based Formulatrix's digital polymerase chain reaction, or digital PCR, assets, including its Constellation brand of instruments.

Netherlands-based Qiagen said it plans a global launch in 2020 of digital PCR platforms that combine Formulatrix's instruments with its expertise in assay development and automation. Applications in clinical healthcare beyond the initial focus on life science applications are also planned for the technology.

Digital PCR detects and quantifies nucleic acids — DNA or RNA — present in a sample. Qiagen said Formulatrix's technology can process up to 200 samples per hour, much more than existing instruments, through a fully automated workflow.