Qiagen is entering the promising field of multi-omics data analysis with the acquisition of a bioinformatics company from the US. 

Qiagen, an upstart looking to break into the field of next-generation sequencing (NGS), has just announced the acquisition of US-based OmicSoft for an undisclosed amount. This transaction will upgrade Qiagen’s bioinformatics services, which will now include multi-omics data analysis and software solutions to integrate and easily visualize large amounts of data.

Until now, Qiagen only offered data analysis services of DNA and RNA. However, scientists have highlighted during the last few years that genomics alone is no longer sufficient to make accurate diagnostics. Multi-omics approaches integrate genome, epigenome, proteome, metabolome and/or microbiome data to provide a broader picture and facilitate the identification of relevant biomarkers at any biological level.

Quiagen OmicSoft Multi Omics Bioinformatics

With this new acquisition, Qiagen strengthens its position in the profitable bioinformatics market, which is expected to make a big jump from €6B ($6B) in 2016 to €15B ($16B) by 2020. In addition, the company will likely get hold of OmicSoft customers, which include big names like Amgen, Merck, GSK, Sanofi, Servier and UCB.

The market opportunity is significant given the expanding use of multiple ‘omics’ data in research and clinical healthcare“, said Laura Furmanski, Senior VP and Head of the Bioinformatics Business Area at Qiagen. A perfect example is the recent launch of a project to exploit multi-omics in the treatment of multiple sclerosis by the EU Horizon 2020.

Qiagen will encounter tough competitors fighting over this growing market. Companies like IlluminaThermo Fisher and Agilent are already offering multi-omics services. In particular, Illumina and its zealous legal team have a long history of rivalry with Qiagen in NGS. We’ll have to wait and see if the European upstart can fight these big players and establish itself in the promising multi-omics space.

Images by Cooperr, Shawn Hempel/Shutterstock

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