Origin Tech to derail Thermo Fisher's bid for Affymetrix with $1.5 bn competing offer

Origin Technologies Corp LLC, a company owned by former executives of gene testing and analysis provider Affymetrix Inc has tabled $1.5-billion competing offer for the company, a move that is aimed at derailing an already agreed deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

In early January, Thermo Fisher, the world's largest maker of scientific instruments, struck a friendly deal to buy Affymetrix for $1.3 billion in cash, in order to strengthen its biosciences and genetic analysis business. (See: Thermo Fisher to buy Affymetrix for $1.3 bn)

Under the terms of the deal, Thermo Fisher offered to pay $14 per share amounting to a 52-per cent premium to Affymetrix's 8 January closing price of $9.21. Affymetrix shares have risen 52 per cent since Thermo Fisher made its offer.

Origin Technologies has offered to pay $16.10 per share in cash, a 14.8-per cent premium to Affymetrix's closing price on Friday, an offer that is 15 per cent higher than Thermo Fisher's offer.

Origin Technologies is owned by a former Affymetrix executives including Dr. Wei Zhou, who was the vice president of intellectual property and advanced technology in California-based Affymetrix.

The compny was formed with the sole aim to acquire Affymetrix, which could be merged with Centrillion Technology Holdings Corp, a Palo Alto-based genomic technologies company founded by Dr. Zhou in 2009.

''Our offer presents a compelling opportunity for Affymetrix' stockholders to realize superior value through an attractive premium, along with a transaction structure and customary closing conditions similar to the offer from Thermo,'' said Dr. Wei Zhou, president of Origin.

''We have tremendous respect for Affymetrix and its leadership team and believe that our unique insights and desire to accelerate innovation at the Company will result in advances in the science of genomics and related scientific breakthroughs in human health and life sciences,'' he added.

Dr. Wei Zhou also said that should both the companies merge, the merged entity would be well-positioned to build a strong stake in the $46-billion global genomics market spread across clinical labs, academic research, agriculture and environment and precision medicine.

Thermo Fisher is said to have received all regulatory approvals and is ready to complete the deal.

Affymetrix said that while its board was reviewing the proposal from Origin, as of now it was recommending that stockholders adopt the merger agreement with Thermo Fisher.

Affymetrix's technologies enable multiplex and simultaneous analysis of biological systems at the cell, protein, and gene level, facilitating the rapid translation of benchtop research into clinical and routine use for human health.

Its customers include the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology companies as well as leading academic, government, and non-profit research institutes.

It has shipped more than 2,300 microarray systems globally and more than 94,000 peer-reviewed papers have been published citing its technologies.

The California-based company has manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, San Diego, Vienna and Singapore, and employs around 1,100 people.