QIAGEN let the "gene-ie" out of the bottle. The company makes the tools researchers need to extract and purify nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), making them easier for researchers to see and analyze. QIAGEN has more than 500 products, including disposable kits used to collect, handle, and purify samples; automated workstations used to prepare nucleic acids samples; and disposable testing agents to detect health conditions or predispositions. Its customers include drug development companies, academic and government researchers, and diagnostics labs. The company also provides some contract research services including DNA sequencing. QIAGEN sells its products in more than 40 countries via direct sales and distributors.
The company is an industry leader when it comes to DNA/RNA tests used by medical researchers. Key test kits include those to detect the human papilloma virus (HPV) and swine flu. QIAGEN is trying to expand its reach in markets beyond pharmaceutical and biotech companies, however, to include more firms involved in applied testing (forensics and food testing, for instance) and the emerging field of molecular diagnostics. About 90% of the company's sales come from consumable tests and kits used for nucleic acid purification and molecular diagnostic testing.
Always acquisitive, QIAGEN has been snapping up firms that specialize in molecular diagnostics. Since 2007 it has purchased about a dozen companies located around the world, most are molecular diagnostics and testing developers. It has also purchased several of its distribution partners in Turkey, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and other countries primarily in the Asia-Pacific region, giving it a direct presence in those markets. The company says it plans to continue its buying spree with a focus on Russia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
In 2012 the company added to its growing portfolio of point of need diagnostic solutions with the purchase of privately owned AmniSure International LLC, a Boston-based company that markets its AmniSure assay to the OB/GYN market in the US and other countries. The assay is used to determine whether a pregnant woman is suffering rupture of fetal membranes (ROM), a cause of premature delivery and complications due to leakage of amniotic fluid. Other products in QIAGEN's point of need portfolio include the QIAGEN ESE Quant Lateral Flow Readers and Tube Scanners.
QIAGEN in 2010 acquired 70 molecular food safety tests developed by the Institute for Product Quality (ifp). The deal strengthens Qiagen's applied testing business, which also encompasses molecular testing systems for forensic applications, veterinary medicine, and biodefense. It also purchased exclusive rights to a cancer-related biomarker from Johns Hopkins University and picked up ESE GmbH, a manufacturer of UV and fluorescent optical devices.
In 2011 the company acquired Australian diagnostic firm Cellestis Limited for about A$341 million. ($355 million). The purchase gives QIAGEN access to Cellestis' early disease detection technology, QuantiFERON, which helps identify patients at risk from potentially life-threatening diseases such as latent tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The company also announced plans to acquire French diagnostics firm Ipsogen, which makes assays to identify hematologic (blood) cancer biomarkers.
QIAGEN also expands its product offerings through internal development of new equipment and tests. Some of the company's products are developed and sold through strategic alliances with other diagnostics firms. It has distribution agreements with Abbott Laboratories, Roche, and Siemens, for example, in which QIAGEN supplies assays that can be run on instrumentation systems sold by those companies. In 2012 the company gained access to small and mid-sized US hospitals for its automated laboratory systems and test kits for molecular diagnostics through a distribution agreement with Cardinal Health. The hospital market provides significant opportunities for growth since only about 10% of hospitals in the US currently perform molecular diagnostics, and those that do are generally large. As part of the deal, QIAGEN will provide application and technical support resources to Cardinal Health customers. – less