Qiagen acquires NGS forensics firm Verogen for $150 million in cash

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Qiagen on Monday announced it has completed the acquisition of Verogen, a next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies firm, with the aim of increasing its position in human identification and forensics.

Qiagen paid $150 million in cash from existing reserves.

The firms have been commercialization partners since announcing a distribution agreement in June 2021.

Qiagen said it expects about $20 million in revenues from the Verogen portfolio this year, building on about $5 million that it booked in 2022 from the distribution agreement.

Due to planned investments for commercialization and portfolio development, the transaction is expected to be dilutive to Qiagen's full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per share by about $0.03 per share and neutral to adjusted EPS in 2024.

Verogen, a privately held company founded in 2017 and based in San Diego, supports the global human identification community with NGS tools and professional services to help resolve criminal and missing-persons cases.

In the late 1990s, Qiagen entered the human identification and forensics market with the launch of commercial kits to purify DNA from forensic casework samples. Its sample collection and preparation kits, genetic testing analysis, and workflow automation products are used around the world by forensic science laboratories and criminal investigators.

“Bringing together Verogen and Qiagen creates a unique opportunity to better help investigators and researchers to advance forensic science and to find missing persons, accurately identify suspects and exonerate the innocent,” Thierry Bernard, CEO of Qiagen, said in a statement.

Law enforcement, military, and other forensic experts around the world increasingly look to NGS for its genetic insights, such as allowing investigators to infer unique attributes like hair and eye color and biogeographical ancestry.

Overall, human identification DNA techniques have evolved over the past few decades, helping to meet challenges in the aftermaths of wars and natural disasters, as well as to support advances in criminal justice. As one example, the International Commission on Missing Persons in the Netherlands to date has profiled more than 44,000 bone samples and made more than 18,000 identifications -- all processed using Qiagen chemistry and kits.

However, the limitations of today’s broadly used workflows based on short-tandem-repeat (STR) analyses using capillary electrophoresis (CE) technology impede matches in an estimated 60% to 85% of traditional searches, Qiagen said, adding that this has resulted in a backlog of about one million unsolved cases in the U.S. alone.

Verogen’s sequencing and analysis solutions are designed for use on Illumina’s MiSeq FGx Sequencing System, and with this acquisition, Qiagen gains exclusive distribution rights for a version of the MiSeq sequencer designed specifically for forensics applications.

Qiagen also gets access to Verogen’s GEDmatch database and GEDmatch PRO portal. GEDmatch allows users to upload genetic profiles created by other genealogy sites to expand the search for familial links; it contains more than 1.8 million genealogical profiles and continues to grow. GEDmatch PRO is designed to support police and forensic teams with investigative comparisons to data uploaded by consenting GEDmatch users.

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