QIAGEN has acquired Stockach, Germany-based ESE GmbH, a developer and manufacturer of UV and fluorescence optical measurement devices, for up to $19m. The transaction contributes to QIAGEN's strategy of driving the dissemination of molecular sample and assay technologies into everyday life.

The deal adds a new detection platform to the company’s portfolio of assay technologies and creates options for point-of-need test solutions in select markets.

ESE’s optical measurement systems utilize high-performance fluorescence detection technologies integrated into compact modules. In addition to portable solutions for point-of-need testing, these miniaturized, low-cost fluorescence detection modules can be integrated in laboratory instruments as well. The systems can be battery operated, process up to eight samples at a time and even permit testing of samples for several parameters in a single run (multiplex testing).

As the proprietary technology allows for the detection modules to be manufactured at very low cost, the complete solutions can sell for less than $2,000 per unit – significantly below the price of other comparable testing systems, said the company.

Peer Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN, said: “We are excited about the addition of ESE’s capabilities and technology portfolio. We believe it will considerably strengthen QIAGEN’s portfolio of detection technologies and help us to better address the needs of our existing customers in a range of application fields. In addition, due to the unique features of ESE’s technology, this transaction allows QIAGEN to synergistically apply our sample and assay technologies to the exciting, emerging point-of-need testing market segment.”

Klaus Haberstroh, founder and CEO of ESE, said: “The deal is a great fit for us,” said Klaus Haberstroh, founder and CEO of ESE GmbH. “With its leadership in molecular sample and assay technologies, QIAGEN is the ideal partner to capitalize on our development and engineering know-how and to take our technology to the next level.”

QIAGEN will establish ESE’s development and manufacturing site in Stockach as a Center of Excellence in Detection Development and intends to retain and expand the employee base.

QIAGEN anticipates the transaction to contribute approximately $6 million in sales in 2010.