Agilent acquires maker of software for diagnostics laboratories

Agilent Technologies ($A) announced the acquisition of Cartagenia, maker of Bench Lab, a platform for recording and sharing data produced by clinical genetics and molecular pathology laboratories.

Bench Lab enables researchers to analyze clinically relevant structural variants and next-generation sequencing data in the context of data from clinicians, test multiple hypotheses and create lab reports.

The platform also enables access to a range of private and premium content resources for oncology or inherited diseases. Agilent also said the program adds value to laboratories that wish to share data with others, such as fellow members of a consortium.

"Cartagenia's approach to enabling the interpretation of clinical genomics data is revolutionary," said Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent's Diagnostics and Genomics Group, in a statement. "We look forward to providing Cartagenia's software solutions to our clinical genetics and molecular oncology customers and to providing Cartagenia's existing customers with access to our global service and support network. Together, Agilent and Cartagenia can help remove bottlenecks inherent in analysis, interpretation and reporting clinical data--resulting in faster answers for patients."

In 2013, Hewlett Packard ($HPQ) spinoff Agilent itself spun off its electronic measurement business into a separate company called Keysight Technologies so that it could focus more on the life sciences. Then, in a bid to narrow its focus even further, in 2014 it closed its nuclear magnetic resonance business at a cost of 300 jobs.

In addition to lab equipment, the company makes a variety of reagents and machines for quantitative measurement of polymerase chain reactions for use in the diagnostics industry. Soon, Cartagenia's software can be added to the list. The transaction is expected to close by May 19. All 36 of Cartagenia's employees in Boston and Belgium will be retained, Agilent says.

In a statement, Herman Verrelst, Cartagenia's CEO, said, "Joining forces with Agilent is an excellent strategic fit and provides tremendous opportunity both for our customers--who will benefit from integration with a broad family of solutions and a range of new applications--and for our team, as we'll be able to further accelerate our success and growth through Agilent's global reach and leading footprint in clinical labs."

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