Life Tech partners on bacterial genome software amid $13.6B sale to Thermo

Life Technologies ($LIFE) has found a new software partner for its benchtop Ion PGM sequencer, one of the jewels of the company crown that Thermo Fisher ($TMO) aims to grab in its $13.6 billion buyout of Life announced last week. Carlsbad, CA-based Life has partnered with Ridom to create "whole genome bacterial typing" software for use with Ion Torrent machines.

Thermo Fisher is paying what many view as top dollar to acquire Life for $76 per share and taking on $2.2 billion in Life's debt. According to Thermo, one of the key reasons for the big buyout was to gobble up Life's genomics business, which features the pioneering Ion Torrent tech.

Yet good sequencing hardware gets you only so far in genomics. The software from Germany-based Ridom gives Ion Torrent users tech tools to analyze and identify bacterial genomes decoded with the desktop PGM sequencer. Microbiologists have increasingly turned to DNA sequencers in an effort to dissect the genetics of bacteria and in some cases uncover how bacteria could impact human health in programs such as the Human Microbiome Project. 

Dr. Dag Harmsen, co-managing director of Ridom from the University Hospital Muenster, Germany, played a leading role in sequencing the deadly E. coli strain that killed more than 40 people in Germany in 2011, according to Life's release. With the software from Ridom, Ion Torrent users can identify the type of bacteria in a sample and analyze it in less than a day.

Thermo Fisher is expected to wrap up its buyout of Life early next year. In the interim, count on Life and Ion Torrent to continue building the number of software apps that help its sequencing users to derive knowledge from vast amounts of genomic data.

- here's the release
- see the San Diego Business Journal's update

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