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Danaher buys oligonucleotide maker Integrated DNA Technologies

Acquisition makes instrument firm a player in consumables for next-generation sequencing

by Marc S. Reisch
March 19, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 12

A photo of a gene fragments kit from IDT.
Credit: IDT
A gene fragments kit from IDT.

The technology conglomerate Danaher has agreed to purchase Integrated DNA Technologies, a maker of custom DNA and RNA oligonucleotides for academic and pharmaceutical genomics research.

The acquisition is the second in recent weeks by a scientific tool maker interested in consumables for next-generation gene sequencing. Earlier this month, Agilent Technologies bought capillary electrophoresis expert Advanced Analytical Technologies, a spin-off from Iowa State University. Both Advanced Analytical and IDT have alliances with next-gen sequencing leader Illumina.

In a note to clients, analyst Ross Muken of the research firm Evercore ISI said Danaher paid about $1.9 billion for IDT, which he estimates has annual sales of about $300 million and earnings of $100 million. Neither Danaher nor IDT would confirm those numbers.

IDT employs 1,200 people and is based in Coralville, Iowa. Its oligonucleotides are also used in genome editing and diagnostics for cancer and infectious diseases.

Danaher had $18.3 billion in 2017 sales and earnings of $2.9 billion from life sciences, diagnostics, and environmental markets. Companies it owns include the instrument makers Beckman Coulter, Sciex, and Leica Microsystems. A frequent acquirer, it bought molecular diagnostics firm Cepheid in 2016 and ranks second in C&EN’s most recent survey of top instrument makers.

Danaher is also no stranger to the consumables market. In 2016, it bought chromatography column maker Phenomenex.

IDT was founded in 1987 by University of Iowa biochemistry professor Joseph Walder. Becoming part of Danaher will help IDT expand globally, Walder says. Earlier this year, IDT acquired the Australian oligonucleotide competitor GeneWorks.


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