QIAGEN and Australia-based Cellestis have entered into a scheme implementation deed (SID) pursuant to which QIAGEN, or a wholly owned subsidiary, will acquire all of the ordinary shares in Cellestis for approximately A$341m in cash.

QIAGEN, a Netherlands holding company, is a provider of sample and assay technologies, used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue.

The SID will provide QIAGEN with exclusive rights to QuantiFERON technology, a proprietary approach for disease detection and monitoring.

Cellestis has commercialized the technology with QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT), a test for latent tuberculosis (TB).

The test has received regulatory and policy approvals in the US, Japan, Europe and elsewhere.

Cellestis is also in the early stages of commercializing QuantiFERON-CMV for monitoring of disease risk from the life-threatening cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Based on its ability to provide diagnostic information far earlier than DNA-based molecular tests, QuantiFERON is considered a ‘pre-molecular’ testing technology.

As a result, tests based on QuantiFERON can even provide critical information on latent infections, where pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi) are present in such low amounts that they are not detectable with traditional DNA-based molecular diagnostics.

Following successful completion of the transaction, QIAGEN plans to migrate QuantiFERON onto QIAensemble, a next-generation high-throughput automation system in development and nearing market entry; QIAsymphony, a highly versatile automation system for low- to mid-throughput volumes available around the world; and QIAGEN’s point of need testing platforms acquired from ESE GmbH.

QIAGEN CEO Peer Schatz said Cellestis has developed a technology that is highly complementary to their portfolio and which they expect to migrate onto QIAsymphony, QIAensemble and point of need platforms, thereby adding a new, unique assay menu to these QIAGEN platforms.

"We believe the addition of Cellestis will further strengthen our capabilities to offer innovative sample and assay technologies that are making improvements in life possible," Schatz said.

The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including FIRB approval, court approval and the approval of Cellestis shareholders.