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PerkinElmer Acquiring ViaCell

Photonics.com
Oct 2007
WALTHAM, Mass., Oct. 2, 2007 -- Health sciences and photonics technology provider PerkinElmer Inc. announced late yesterday it will acquire ViaCell Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in collecting and preserving stem cells from umbilical cord blood, for $300 million.

ViaCell is based in Cambridge, Mass., and has a processing center in Hebron, Ky. It has 280 employees, including 170 in Cambridge. Under the agreement, PerkinElmer will buy all of the outstanding shares of ViaCell for $7.25 per share, a 52 percent premium over the company's closing cost yesterday, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $300 million.

Waltham-based PerkinElmer, which currently offers neonatal screening for more than 50 genetic disorders, said adding ViaCell's ViaCord product for preserving umbilical cord blood will significantly expand its product line and reach in the neonatal and prenatal markets. Cord blood has been shown to be effective in treating over 40 diseases including blood cancers and certain genetic diseases.

Viacell has been experiencing annual growth in excess of 20 percent and has preserved the umbilical cord blood of more than 130,000 newborns. It has a 55-member inside sales team that directly markets preserving the blood, something not usually covered by insurance, to expectant parents. ViaCell currently charges $1995 per stem-cell sample preserved and an annual storage fee of $125. The company's sales are expected to surpass $60 million in 2007 and the US market for family cord-blood banking could reach more than $1 billion, PerkinElmer said.

ViaCell is also developing ViaCyte, a product that could allow women to freeze their unfertilized eggs, and is conducting research and development into stem cell-based products to treat cancer, cardiac disease and diabetes. PerkinElmer said it intends to divest these businesses.

"ViaCell has built a high growth business based on innovative umbilical cord blood preservation technology, with a strong, established market presence," said Gregory L. Summe, chairman and CEO, PerkinElmer. "This is an important investment to continue expanding our genetic screening business. We are excited by the prospect of combining ViaCell with our existing prenatal and neonatal screening services, with an enhanced ability to reach obstetric professionals and prospective parents throughout the United States."

"A growing number of disorders -- which today includes blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, and metabolic disorders -- are treatable using the cord blood stem cells gathered and preserved through ViaCell's ViaCord offering. By bringing both the screening and therapeutic benefits of these two businesses together, we can offer a more comprehensive solution to patients and practitioners," said Robert F. Friel, president and COO, PerkinElmer.

"We believe this transaction will maximize value to our shareholders while continuing to accelerate the growth of the ViaCord business and the progress of future product development," said Marc D. Beer, president and CEO, ViaCell. Beer added that PerkinElmer will be able to market ViaCord globally, while 95 percent of ViaCell's business is currently in the US.

The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company and is subject to customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, PerkinElmer said.

For more information, visit: www.perkinelmer.com



GLOSSARY
cord
A threadlike inclusion within a blank of optical glass. Rarely found in quality optical materials.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
umbilical
A connection, typically made up of one or more cables, between a laser head and a separate power supply. Flexible pipes or hoses are sometimes used to protect and stabilize multiple cables.
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