Amnis to Be Acquired by EMD Millipore of Merck KGaA

Xconomy Boston — 

Some news from the world of life sciences equipment makers today. EMD Millipore, the Billerica, MA-based subsidiary of German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck KGaA, has agreed to acquire Seattle-based Amnis for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Millipore was bought by Merck KGaA for $7 billion-plus in cash in March 2010 and combined with EMD Chemicals, a New Jersey-based Merck subsidiary. Last week, EMD Millipore named Robert Yates, a diagnostics veteran from Roche, its new president. He succeeds Bernd Reckmann, the Merck exec who replaced Martin Madaus (another Roche vet) as head of Millipore after the acquisition last year.

Meanwhile, Amnis has taken an interesting path to this point. The Seattle firm, which spun out of the University of Washington in 1998, makes an imaging device that provides detailed images of large numbers of cells—potentially enabling researchers to detect trace amounts of cancer in a blood sample, or determine whether a drug will hit a particular protein target. The company’s customers include academic researchers and big drugmakers. According to today’s release, Amnis has 40 employees and generated sales of $14 million in 2010. The company’s investors include CVF, MedVenture Associates, OrbiMed Capital, and WRF Capital.

“The combination of Amnis with EMD Millipore will greatly accelerate development of novel applications in imaging flow cytometry, enhance our customer support, and accelerate product development,” said Amnis co-founder and CEO David Basiji, in a statement. No word yet on whether the company’s Seattle office will remain intact or if employees will be moving.

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