Agilent to lay down $80M for large stake in sequencing company Lasergen

Agilent's Jacob Thaysen

Agilent Technologies ($A) has been looking to M&A to expand its presence in diagnostics, striking a series of deals over the past couple of years in a bid to boost business. In its latest deal, the company is laying down an $80 million stake in sequencing company Lasergen to gain more ground in the field.

Under the terms of the deal, Agilent will get a 48% stake in the company and join its board. Agilent will also have the option between now and March 2, 2018, to snatch up the remaining shares of Lasergen for an additional $105 million, the company said in a statement.

A deal with Houston-based Lasergen bodes well for Agilent as it looks to expand in genomics. The pair will work together to develop next-generation sequencing tools for the clinical market, building on the companies' past work to create more streamlined products.

"Agilent has been clear about its strategic intent to grow in the diagnostics space and, to that end, build a complete routine clinical NGS workflow. Our investment and collaboration are designed to accelerate Lasergen's work in commercializing their novel technology, focused on developing a sequencing workflow aimed at clinical applications," President of Agilent's Diagnostics and Genomics Group Jacob Thaysen said in a statement.

Santa Clara, CA-based Agilent has been busy with dealmaking the past couple years. In 2013, the company exited a few businesses including MRI to double down on higher growth areas including diagnostics. Agilent is looking to deals to broaden its footprint in the space.

Last year, the company said it would snatch up software company Cartagenia to boost its presence in the clinical lab software sector. In September, the company continued its dealmaking streak by announcing that it would shell out $235 million for Seahorse Bio and its technology for research labs.

Agilent isn't the only diagnostics company busy making deals. Rival Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO) is also gearing up for more dealmaking. The company, a serial acquirer in its own right, recently filed a shelf registration that could portend a big deal, one analyst said.

- here's Agilent's statement