As sale rumors abound, Life Tech expands in China

Life Technologies won Chinese approval to sell its 3500xL Dx Genetic Analyzer.--Courtesy of Life Technologies

Life Technologies ($LIFE) won Chinese approval for one of its gene analyzers, and the company is launching 10 assays to grow its share of the country's fast-growing market, all while a who's-who of competitors and private equity firms mull bids for the sequencing giant.

China's SFDA approved the 3500xL Dx Genetic Analyzer for clinical diagnostic use, allowing Life to start selling test kits for cancer, drug resistance and prenatal chromosome disorders through its joint venture with local outfit DaAn Diagnostics. The added heft to Life's Chinese offerings will push it toward its goal of becoming a global leader in molecular diagnostics, the company said.

"Life Technologies is committed to bring more medical diagnostic products, like the 3500xL Dx genetic analyzer to support clinical research and diagnostics, which are expected to lead to a higher quality of life for Chinese people and more economical healthcare solutions," Siddhartha Kadia, Life's president of greater China operations, said in a statement.

And as the company gets reported once-overs from the likes of Roche ($RHHBY), Thermo Fisher ($TMO) and a bevy of private equity magnates, an expansion in emerging markets sales could help it move the asking price needle.

Bids for Life are rumored to fall somewhere between $13 billion and $15 billion, but analysts said last month that Life's suitors might balk at the high end of that spectrum in light of the company's roughly 5% average annual sales increase over the last three years. But if Life can make substantial progress in China, a booming market with shifting healthcare policies and an aging population, the company's sales potential could sway would-be buyers to up their antes.

- read Life's announcement