PerkinElmer snaps up CRISPR provider Horizon Discovery in $383M deal

PerkinElmer has moved to expand its life sciences portfolio with CRISPR and gene editing offerings by snapping up the cell engineering specialist Horizon Discovery.

The $383 million, all-cash deal will add gene modulation tools that—in combination with its own work in applied genomics solutions—aims to provide next-generation research tools and the customized cell lines necessary for developers of new targeted therapies, and broaden PerkinElmer’s partnership work with academic researchers and the biopharma industry.

The Cambridge, U.K.-based Horizon, with about 400 employees worldwide with offices in the U.S. and Japan, provides genetic base editing technologies for living cell models using CRISPR reagents, as well as gene modulation products using RNA interference methods. 

“One of the key fundamentals for molecular research and drug discovery is being able to knock down a gene or function and explore the results to discover actionable insights and new clinical trial candidates faster,” PerkinElmer President and CEO Prahlad Singh said in a statement

“We’re excited to team up with Horizon to not only add CRISPR and RNAi capabilities into our existing portfolio, but also to leverage our combined life sciences screening and applied genomics solutions to help propel the next phase of cell and gene research for precision medicine,” Singh added.

RELATED: Horizon Discovery in collaboration with AstraZeneca for gene editing

Earlier this year, Horizon introduced a CRISPR-based cell screening service, coupled with single-cell RNA sequencing, to help researchers identify new therapeutic targets—as well as new cell lines that express Cas9 at stable levels for gene knockout and activation experiments.

Meanwhile, PerkinElmer’s current portfolio includes a range of immunoassay platforms, high content screening and in vivo imaging, plus robotic liquid handling technologies and next-generation sequencing library preparation kits.

RELATED: Abcam ends pursuit of £270M Horizon Discovery buyout

Horizon was previously the M&A quarry of the protein research tool company Abcam, though that deal was unsuccessful. The fellow Cambridge, U.K. biotech proposed a buyout of £270 million, or about $367 million U.S. in 2018, but Horizon rejected the offer as too low and “highly opportunistic.”

The deal with PerkinElmer, with a total enterprise value of about £284 million, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.