Microfluidics technology company Advanced Liquid Logic, a RTP-based startup with what it has called “lab on a chip” technology, has been acquired by genetic testing products company Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN).
The company had been privately held and had raised $56 million from investors, through federal research grants and from partners. It also received and repaid nearly $470,000 in loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Advanced Liquid Logic, or ALL, has developed proprietary “digital microfluidics” technology that can precisely maneuver tiny amounts of liquid. The technology has applications in diagnostic devices, shrinking what used to require an entire laboratory down to a simple chip.
Illumina, based in San Diego, announced the acquisition as it released its second quarter financial results on Tuesday. The company did not disclose what it paid for ALL. But the company said in a statement that the ALL technology would be incorporated into its next-generation sequencing offering (NGS).
“For our research customers, ALL’s technology will further streamline the industry’s simplest NGS workflow, while for clinical and applied markets, where ease of use and consistency are especially valued, it will allow us to offer integrated, end-to-end solutions,” Christian Henry, senior vice president and general manager of Illumina’s Genomic Solutions business said in a statement. “ALL brings an impressive IP portfolio in digital microfluidics and a talented team with a track record of innovation.”
ALL will operate as a subsidiary of Illumina. Illumina has stated that one of its goals is to give its customers a comprehensive set of tools to go from a biological sample to the answer of a question, simply and easily. The company said it would collaborate with liquid handling vendors. Illumina said that the ALL acquisition will enable the company to bring additional capabilities to customers who handle lower volumes of samples.
The company’s technology allows for the development of diagnostic devices for tests that used to require larger samples tested in a laboratory setting, hence the term “lab on a chip.” The company owns or controls more than 100 patents related to its digital microfluidics technology.
Last year, Advanced Liquid licensed its technology to GenMark Diagnostics in a deal could pay up to $3 million in fees and milestones along with a GenMark equity investment in the RTP firm. Carlsbad, Calif.-based GenMark makes molecular diagnostic testing systems to diagnose disease to guide patient treatment.