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Invitrogen to buy Norwegian biotech with operations in Brown Deer

Brown Deer, Wis. — California-based Invitrogen Corp. plans to acquire Dynal Biotech ASA, whose U.S. operations are based in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, by the end of March for $380.4 million.

Invitrogen has considered the acquisition since mid-2004. The company, which sells supplies to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, helps researchers within these industries to attain technology that supports the research process.

"The way you can think of us is really the pick and shovel company for biotech and pharmaceutical companies," said Greg Geissman, an Invitrogen spokesperson. "Our whole purpose is to make those researchers' jobs easier by easing some of the processes that they have. We have technologies across the board all the way through from initial researching to the actual processing of drugs."

While Invitrogen will obtain Dynal Biotech’s patented technology and the expertise of employees trained to use it, Dynal will be strengthening its presence in North America.

“The combined technologies will aid the quest to accelerate our customers' research at the same time positioning us as the premier partner for companies engaged in the development of molecular diagnostic assays," said Sean George, vice president of diagnostic solutions at Invitrogen.
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Dynal Biotech, was created by Femstad, an organization out of Oslo, Norway in the early 1980s. The company creates Dynabeads, small tools used to aid in cell cell separation, isolation, and other research in microbiology.

"It started by developing a paramagnetic bead, which is a bead which has magnetic properties only when in the presence of a high-field-strength magnet, and this technology then was used for the technology of isolating cells, pulling out macro/micro peptides," said Dino DiCamillo, president of Dynal Biotech LLC, Dynal’s American subsidiary. "It then moved into tissue typing, which is the process used in tissue-donation, and continued to expand its existence."

Part of this expansion closed a year and a half ago, with Dynal Biotech’s acquisition of Pel-Freez Clinical Systems LLC, based in Brown Deer.

Since this successful merger, former Pel-Freez employees in Wisconsin have been riding Dynal Biotech's growth, which some have expressed concerns of losing.

"Our main concern ... is that they’ll make major personnel changes. We hope that they’re not going to be pulling jobs out of the states and out of Wisconsin," said Jim Leonhart, executive director of the Wisconsin Biotech and Medical Device Association. "Dynal’s acquisition of Pel-Freez was a successful one, and we hope that that success will continue with this new acquisition. We’re always in favor of things that help spur the growth of industry in our state ... We were encouraged that Dynal Biotech had started growth in the Milwaukee area, and we hope that his continues to be a good experience."

Geissman said no plans to downsize the Brown Deer facilities are in the works.

Katy Williams is a Madison-based correspondent for WTN and can be reached at katy@wistechnology.com.

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