ViaCell Shares Soar on News of $300 Million Acquisition Deal with PerkinElmer

Xconomy Boston — 

Shares of Cambridge, MA-based ViaCell (NASDAQ: VIAC) jumped more than 50 percent from yesterday’s close on the late-afternoon news that the company has reached a $300 million agreement to be acquired by Waltham’s PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI).

For PerkinElmer, a $1.55 billion multinational company known as a major manufacturer of scientific and medical equipment, the deal is an opportunity to expand the genetic-screening side of its business. The idea is to develop a one-stop-shopping package for prospective parents by combining ViaCell’s ViaCord technology for preserving umbilical-cord blood with PerkinElmer’s neonatal-screening tools that test for a host of disorders that are potentially treatable with stem cells from the blood. PerkinElmer also plans to take advantage of ViaCell’s established consumer-marketing group—something PE currently lacks.

According to the Boston Globe, PerkinElmer said it plans to sell ViaCell’s stem-cell therapeutics business, as well as its ViaCyte service, which is aimed at allowing women to freeze and store their eggs. (The market responded favorably last month when ViaCell announced it had cut a deal with EMD Sorono, an affiliate of Merck, to further clinical development of ViaCyte.)

In a statement filed with the SEC, ViaCell says the acquisition, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, is unlikely to result in layoffs. Specifics of PerkinElmer’s offer should be forthcoming within 10 business days, the filing says.