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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Japanese firm to buy U-M startup Rubicon Genomics for $75 million


From Crain’s:

Ann Arbor-based Rubicon Genomics Inc., a maker of kits and reagents to increase the accuracy and speed of genomic analysis for gene-based research, drug development and diagnostics, announced Friday that it has agreed to be sold to Mountain View, Calif.-based Takara Bio USA Holdings Inc. in a $75 million deal expected to close next year.

Takara Bio USA is a subsidiary of Takara Bio Inc., a leading global biotechnology and life science company based in Shiga, Japan.

“This acquisition builds on Takara Bio’s commitment to … provide our customers with a broader offering of genetic analysis solutions,” said Carol Lou, president of Takara Bio USA, in a news release. “We welcome Rubicon into the Takara Bio Group and are looking forward to strengthening and expanding our product offerings in the fields of genomics, sequencing, single-cell and clinical applications with their unique technologies.”

“Joining Takara Bio Group provides access to their global reach and research market expertise,” said Rubicon CEO James Koziarz. “We are excited to have the opportunity to combine our proprietary suite of products with those of Takara Bio Group to provide more comprehensive solutions to researchers and clinical labs.”

Rubicon Genomics was spun out from the University of Michigan in 2000 to do contract research for other companies, was near death and in need of a reinvention.

In an article in Crain’s in November 2015, Koziarz, a longtime executive at Abbott who came out of retirement to take over as CEO of the struggling company in December 2008, said the company was in deep trouble.

“We were in the valley of death,” Koziarz said. “The recession had started, and money stopped coming in from research grants and contracts.”

In 2009, the strategy shifted to the development and sale of test kits. The company has been cash flow positive since 2011 and in the fourth quarter of 2015 set a revenue record of $2.5 million. The company has been granted 17 patents and has several pending. In July 2015, Crain’s named Rubicon No. 6 on its Eureka List for its patent portfolio.