One could say that genetics testing and technology firm Illumina is going ALL in for Triangle-based Advanced Liquid Logic.

To the tune of $96 million.

In a conference call with analysts late Tuesday to discuss quarterly earnings, Illumina executives also disclosed some details about the acquisition of ALL that had been announced earlier. In the press release, Illumina says financial details would not be disclosed.

However, Chief Financial Officer Marc Stapley told analysts what the California firm is paying for ALL and its “lab on a chip” technology, which traces its heritage to Duke University.

“We ended the quarter with $1.13 billion in cash and short-term investments. And post the close of the quarter, we completed the purchase of ALL for up to $96 million, which will be reflected in our ending third quarter cash balance,” Stapley said, according to a transcript of the call provided by website SeekingAlpha.

The “up to” refers to milestones and such. 

At least one analyst seemed surprised by the disclosure.

A couple of questions for me. “First off, thanks for the disclosure around the ALL transaction,” said William Quirk of Piper Jaffray.

Asked abut ALL revenue, Illumina Chief Executive Officer Jason Flatley acknowledged that ALL’s contribution is coming down the road as part of the Illumina product suite that has already made it a $9 billion market cap company.

“[W]hat is that going to add in terms of revenue to 2013,” Quirk asked.

“The revenue is insignificant, Bill, so it’s not measurable,” Flatley replied. Moments later, he added: “In terms of our overall revenue, at least.”

If ALL hits those and generates the entire $96 million, that would be a nice exit for investors. According to SEC filings, ALL raised $2 million in equity and options in 2009, another $2 million in equity in 2010 and $1 million a year ago. It also has received a variety of grants and loans, including loans from the N.C. Biotechnology Center which the Center says have all been repaid.

ALL was referenced several times in the call.

Ross Muken of ISI Group referenced ALL as a “really interesting little asset.”

Tycho Peterson of JP Morgan Chase wanted to known more about the $96 million. Flately wouldn’t disclose much more. 

“First, just on the ALL deal. Can you talk about the average number of collaborations …? Can you maybe just talk about how you foresee those playing out going forward? And then also the up to $96 million, what does that assume for kind of milestones and other things going forward?”

Replied Flatley: “Yes, we are intending clearly, Tycho, to honor the obligations we have under the existing ALL agreements and those give to those third parties particular rights to the technology in specific market segments. None of those agreements, we think, preclude Illumina from doing exactly what is our goal with respect to the technology, which is very directly focused into the sequencing marketplace overall. In terms of the purchase price, it’s a combination of an upfront and milestones. We’re not, at this point, disclosing what those milestones are, what the amounts are.”

In his opening remarks, Flatley noted that the ALL deal had actually closed “a few weeks ago.”

“This acquisition will allow us to develop an automated and integrated solution for our low to mid throughput customers,” he explained. “A spinoff from Duke University, the company possesses foundational liquid handling IP, including approximately 100 issued or licensed patents and approximately 200 pending applications.

“ALL has developed a proprietary digital microfluidics technology, which enables the precise manipulation of small droplets within a sealed cartridge, eliminating the pumps, valves and tubes often associated with automated liquid handling. We believe this proven technology will enable us to deliver the simplest and most efficient sample-to-answer workflow, particularly for customers in the clinical and applied markets where these features are especially valued. I encourage you to visit ALL’s website to see a video illustrating this exciting technology.”

As on excitement worth a possible $96 million.