Merial Purchases Technology Portfolio for Veterinary Applications from QIAGEN
Venlo, The Netherlands and Duluth, GA. October 7, 2003 - QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: QGENF; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) and Merial Limited, one of the world's leading animal health companies, today announced that Merial has acquired the assets of QIAGEN's Pecura business acquired and developed by QIAGEN. While QIAGEN believes that the assets have significant potential as veterinary therapeutics, they are not core to QIAGEN's strategic direction and were therefore not actively being pursued.
The technology portfolio of the Pecura division includes the veterinary rights to a novel class of drugs that are based on immunstimulatory cytosine-phosphodiester-guanine (CpG) dinucleotides, presented in synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN), which are believed to have promising potential in veterinary applications for livestock and companion animals. Pecura has an exclusive license from Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc. for the use of CpG oligonucleotides in animals. As part of the agreement, QIAGEN has retained certain rights to the technologies applicable for research tools.
"We are very excited that Merial is committing its expertise and leading position to this technology portfolio", said Rolf Hecker, Director of QIAGEN's Pecura division. "QIAGEN is a market and technology leader in developing and marketing enabling technologies and solutions for today's and future needs in nucleic acid handling, separation and purification in various markets. The veterinary application rights, which were the basis for the transaction with Merial, were acquired through QIAGEN's collaboration with Coley Pharmaceutical. While the rights for research tools are actively being utilized at QIAGEN, the veterinary rights were outside QIAGEN's direct business focus and were not actively being pursued. We are pleased that Merial will put its strong position behind the commercialization of these veterinary rights."
"We are equally excited about the opportunity to get access to this technology portfolio", said Marcus Remmers, Head of Business Development at Merial. "In particular, given the current results of our evaluation in animal trials, the innovative approach of the CpG oligonucleotides will be used to activate the immune system of livestock and companion animals. We believe the market potential for immune-stimulatory products is significant."
Financial terms were not disclosed.
About QIAGEN N.V.
QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company with subsidiaries in Germany, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Italy, Australia, Norway, Austria and Canada, believes it is the world's leading provider of innovative enabling technologies and products for the separation, purification and handling of nucleic acids. The Company has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more than 320 proprietary, consumable products for nucleic acid separation, purification and handling, nucleic acid amplification, as well as automated instrumentation, synthetic nucleic acid products and related services. QIAGEN's products are sold in more than 42 countries throughout the world to academic research markets and to leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. In addition, the Company is positioning its products for sale into developing commercial markets, including DNA sequencing and genomics, nucleic acid-based molecular diagnostics, and genetic vaccination and gene therapy. QIAGEN employs approximately 1,600 people worldwide. Further information on QIAGEN can be found at www.qiagen.com.
Merial is a world leading innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2002 sales were in excess of $1.7 billion.
Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) and Aventis S.A. (NYSE:AVE). For further information please see http://www.merial.com/.
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. To the extent that any of the statements contained herein relating to QIAGEN's products and markets and operating results are forward-looking, such statements are based on current expectations that involve a number of uncertainties and risks. Such uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to, risks associated with management of growth and international operations (including the effects of currency fluctuations and risks of dependency on logistics), variability of operating results, the commercial development of the DNA sequencing, genomics and synthetic nucleic acid-related markets, nucleic acid-based molecular diagnostics market, and genetic vaccination and gene therapy markets, competition, rapid or unexpected changes in technologies, fluctuations in demand for QIAGEN's, products (including seasonal fluctuations), difficulties in successfully adapting QIAGEN's products to integrated solutions and producing such products, the ability of QIAGEN to identify and develop new products and to differentiate its products from competitors, and the integration of acquisitions of technologies and businesses. For further information, refer to the discussion in reports that QIAGEN has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Peer M. Schatz
Dr. Solveigh Mähler