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December 20, 2000 | Customer News

Merck and Tecan join forces in Life Sciences applications

  • Strategic alliance to enter rapidly growing Genomics markets
  • Combining expertise in Robotics and Life Science Reagents
  • Fully automated extraction and purification of nucleic acids

Darmstadt/Germany, and Hombrechtikon, Zurich/Switzerland, December 20, 2000 – Merck KGaA and Tecan today announced they have entered into a strategic alliance to supply, distribute and develop flexible, high throughput nucleic acid extraction and purification kits. Effective January 2001, this collaboration combines the expertise and strength of Merck in life science reagents with Tecan’s leadership in fully automated high throughput molecular biology solutions. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Under the terms of this exclusive agreement, Merck will supply Tecan with extraction and purification kits based on magnetic beads that are optimized for Tecan’s automated nucleic acid workstation. These are distributed by Tecan worldwide for use in a large number of applications, including isolation of genomic DNA from blood, purification of amplification products (PCR clean up) and immobilization of bacteria and isolation of plasmid DNA.


The business opportunities for this technology are expanding exponentially in the field of life sciences as a result of Genome Projects and the importance of functional genomics and proteomics on drug development strategies and molecular diagnostics.


“This alliance brings together two leaders in the life sciences industry that will, as a single source, provide a superior and fully integrated solution for nucleic acid sample preparation to all our customers”, said Bernd Reckmann, Head of the Scientific Laboratory Products Business of Merck KGaA. “Combined with Tecan’s leading position in automation and high throughput nucleic acid workstation, our proprietary chemistry will allow our clients to run protocols in an optimal way, resulting in a higher degree of automation and throughput as well as a better price performance.”“We are delighted to collaborate with such a prestigious partner as Merck, which has an excellent track record in the laboratory and specialty chemical field and brings with it DNA extraction kits with superior chemistry,” said Emile Sutcliffe, Chief Executive Officer of the Tecan Group. “We are now in a position to participate more intensively in the expanding market for nucleic acid extraction, purification and downstream technologies, which is worth about USD 600 million and is growing at about 15% per year.”


“This partnership is in line with our strategy to expand into higher value added areas of the life sciences industry and it strengthens our position as a supplier of high-throughput, fully automated solutions,” Mr. Sutcliffe added. “It marks our entry in the chemistry field in an area where we are already successfully automating kits from third-party suppliers and have built the necessary expertise. Following our recent acquisition of Gamera Bioscience, this alliance also reinforces our presence in the consumables business.”


Tecan’s automated high throughput nucleic acid workstation is designed to offer its customers the utmost flexibility and highest degree of automation. As a provider of open platforms, Tecan will continue to validate chemistry of third-party applications. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will continue to develop new kits and automation solutions, expanding the portfolio of extraction and purification applications in the basic and applied life science markets.