Illumina strikes deal to buy LIMS provider GenoLogics

Illumina ($ILMN) has struck a deal to acquire laboratory information management system (LIMS) player GenoLogics Life Sciences Software, ending years of speculation about the sequencing giant's interest in the business.

GenoLogics and Illumina have worked together closely for years. In 2008, Illumina made GenoLogics the preferred LIMS provider for its next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems. Three years later, GenoLogics entered into a LIMS for NGS co-marketing deal with Illumina, started selling software preconfigured for its partner's systems and then raised $8 million. The lead investor? Illumina, of course. The relationship has survived as Illumina has entered--and to a large extent, created--the world of population-scale sequencing, with GenoLogics providing LIMS for HiSeq X Ten systems.

Illumina deepened its ties to GenoLogics last month by including its LIMS in a wraparound support package for its HiSeq X systems. And now, finally, Illumina has gone one step further and inked a deal to buy GenoLogics outright. "Illumina and GenoLogics have had a longstanding partnership and this acquisition will enable us to widen our distribution, accelerate our product development, and provide even greater support to the Clarity LIMS community," GenoLogics CEO Michael Ball said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this month, at which time GenoLogics will become part of the Illumina Enterprise Informatics business headed up by Sanjay Chikarmane. At this stage it is unclear what, if anything, will change once GenoLogics is part of Illumina, but the business formed an important part of its plans even before the buyout. The latest role for GenoLogics is to help get many of Illumina's HiSeq X customers up to speed. In the second quarter, 5 of the 22 organizations with the system installed accounted for 70% of HiSeq X consumable systems.

To Illumina, the data suggest many of its HiSeq X users have yet to start fully exploiting the capabilities of the system, something it is trying to change by offering the LIMS and lab automation package.

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