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QIAGEN to Acquire Stake in Alacris, Gaining Access to Biomarker Pipeline for use in Personalized Healthcare Assays

January 11, 2011

GERMANTOWN, Maryland and HILDEN, Germany, January 11, 2011
/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ –

– Strategic Investment Strengthens QIAGEN’s Leadership in Personalized
Healthcare

– Alacris Modeling System Generates Individual Treatment Recommendations
Based on Analysis of Whole Genome Sequencing Data and Other Information

– QIAGEN to Gain Exclusive Option Rights to all Biomarkers Identified by
Alacris

QIAGEN (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) has signed an
agreement for the acquisition of a strategic stake in Alacris Theranostics
GmbH, a German start-up company using novel technologies to develop
individualized cancer treatment strategies based upon a patient’s genomic
profile, and for the acquisition of an exclusive option to access all
biomarkers emerging from this discovery program.

Alacris, founded by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular
Genetics (http://www.molgen.mpg.de/) (MPI-MG) in Berlin and Harvard Medical
School
in Cambridge, USA, uses a proprietary modeling system developed at
MPI-MG and exclusively licensed to Alacris Theranostics, to analyze clinical
sample data based on next-generation and other whole genome sequencing
technologies.

This system, called ModCell(TM), addresses a critical bottleneck in the
development of personalized healthcare solutions. It allows users to identify
and select from vast amounts of genetic data such markers that can prove
useful to guide treatment decisions for patients. The technology can also be
used to create marker subsets to stratify potential patient populations for
R&D trials involving medicines in clinical development. These marker
selections can be formatted into real-time PCR-based assays that QIAGEN can
commercialize within its pharmaceutical development assay portfolio or its
therascreen molecular diagnostics portfolio for use on its new QIAsymphony
RGQ platform.

The collaboration brings together the global leadership of QIAGEN in
developing molecular diagnostic and testing solutions in pharmaceutical
development and personalized healthcare with Alacris’ genomic data generation
and mining capabilities and preferential access to large and
well-characterized clinical sample sets.

“The genome-driven approach of Alacris complements our strategy very well
since it facilitates a clinically relevant selection of molecular targets
from vast amounts of genetic and clinical data. QIAGEN intends to develop
such molecular targets into assays for our QIAsymphony platform to
personalize treatments and improve outcomes for patients,” said Peer Schatz,
Chief Executive Officer of QIAGEN. “Our strategic investment in Alacris
expands QIAGEN’s existing broad biomarker discovery and validation
initiatives and is designed to expand our QIAsymphony-based personalized
healthcare and pharma development assay portfolio.”

“We are very pleased about this collaboration. With QIAGEN, we have not
only engaged a financially strong investor but also a leader in personalized
healthcare as our partner,” said Prof. Dr. Hans Lehrach, one of the founders
of Alacris Theranostics GmbH and a Director at the Max Planck Institute for
Molecular Genetics. “QIAGEN has rich experience and know-how in the
commercialization of innovative life science and diagnostic technologies,
which will help us to commercialize this novel approach to treating diseases
such as cancer in the future.”

QIAGEN is currently active in more than 20 projects to develop companion
diagnostics with a broad range of major pharmaceutical companies based upon
molecular biomarkers. QIAGEN is also active in many collaborations for the
discovery and validation of biomarkers for the development of future
diagnostics and therapeutics, which have been greatly enhanced by the
acquisition of SABiosciences(
http://www.qiagen.com/about/pressreleases/pressreleaseview.aspx?PressReleaseI
D=279 ) in 2009.

(Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste
this hyperlink into your Internet browser’s URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

Biomarkers are molecules such as nucleic acids or proteins that are
indicative for particular cell processes, biochemical metabolic pathways or
receptors on the cell surface. Providing descriptions for individual patient
profiles as well as for emergence and progress of diseases, biomarkers play
an increasingly important role in diagnostics and the development of new
pharmaceutical agents. Experts estimate
(http://www.globalbusinessinsights.com/content/rbdd0009m.pdf ) the overall
market volume for biomarkers will be approximately $21 billion by 2012.

The genome-based approach opens new perspectives for personalized cancer
treatments as it enables the reliable assessment of treatment outcomes with
various combinations of drugs by not only detecting mutations in individual
genes but by analyzing the entire mutation spectrum of all genes involved in
the disease.

Initial tests of this method collaboratively conducted under the
international research project Treat 1000 (
http://treat1000.alacrispharma.com/ ) have generated promising results. The
continuous decline in sequencing costs for marker discovery and the wider
dissemination of PCR-based assay technologies on one hand, and rising
healthcare expenditures on the other hand, are additional factors that
prompted Alacris to develop and commercialize this approach.

Terms of the agreement

QIAGEN will acquire a minority stake in Alacris Theranostics GmbH, and an
exclusive option for access to all biomarkers that are discovered. Alacris
will participate in commercialization of these biomarkers through royalty
fees. Financial details of the agreement, which is subject to closing
requirements as approval of Alacris’ shareholders, were not disclosed.

About QIAGEN

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the leading global
provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to
isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as
blood or tissue. Assay technologies are used to make such isolated
bio-molecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 sample
and assay products as well as automated solutions for such consumables. The
company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic
researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing
customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and
pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN’s assay technologies include one of
the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This
panel includes the digene HPV Test, which is regarded as a “gold standard” in
testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause
of cervical cancer, as well as a broad suite of solutions for infectious
disease testing and companion diagnostics. QIAGEN employs nearly 3,600 people
in over 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found
at http://www.qiagen.com/.

About Alacris

Alacris Theranostics GmbH, a Berlin company, is a pioneer in the field of
deep sequencing based therapy guidance, clinical trial stratification, and
biomarker identification. Deep sequencing is coupled with analysis via a
proprietary systems biology technology developed at the Max Planck Institute
for Molecular Genetics and exclusively licensed to Alacris. The company uses
its technology platform to identify the right therapy for a specific genotype
- .i.e., patient – and also to identify the right genotypes for a therapy -
i.e., clinical trial stratification. The latter of the two applications leads
to the identification of a companion diagnostic or biomarker set for that
therapy. Alacris currently markets its therapy guidance to leading cancer
clinics and intends to also make this technology directly available to
patients in the near future. The company makes its clinical trial
stratification technology available to leading pharmaceutical companies in
order to help them reduce the cost of bringing their oncology drugs to market
and to increase the likelihood of a successful approval.

Certain of the statements contained in this news release may be
considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of
the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S.
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. To the extent that any of the
statements contained herein relating to QIAGEN’s products, markets, strategy
or operating results are forward-looking, such statements are based on
current expectations that involve a number of uncertainties and risks. Such
uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to, risks associated
with management of growth and international operations (including the effects
of currency fluctuations and risks of dependency on logistics), variability
of operating results, the commercial development of the applied testing
markets, clinical research markets and proteomics markets, nucleic acid-based
molecular diagnostics market, and genetic vaccination and gene therapy
markets, competition, rapid or unexpected changes in technologies,
fluctuations in demand for QIAGEN’s, products (including fluctuations due to
the level and timing of customers’ funding, budgets, and other factors), our
ability to obtain regulatory approval of our infectious disease panels,
difficulties in successfully adapting QIAGEN’s products to integrated
solutions and producing such products, the ability of QIAGEN to identify and
develop new products and to differentiate its products from competitors’
products, market acceptance of QIAGEN’s new products and the integration of
acquired technologies and businesses. For further information, refer to the
discussions in reports that QIAGEN has filed with, or furnished to, the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    Contacts:

    QIAGEN
    Public Relations
    Dr. Thomas Theuringer
    Director Public Relations
    +1-240-686-7425
    Email: pr@qiagen.com

    Investor Relations
    Dr. Solveigh Maehler
    Director Investor Relations
    +49-2103-29-11710

    Albert F. Fleury
    +1-301-944-7028
    Email: ir@qiagen.com

    Alacris
    Press Contact
    Prof. Dr. Hans Lehrach
    Founder
    +49-308-413-1220
    Email: lehrach@molgen.mpg.de

    Investor Contact
    Dipl.-Hdl Gunter Durholt
    Managing Director
    +49-621-716-3122
    Email: g.h.duerholt-MA@t-online.de

SOURCE QIAGEN


Source: newswire



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