Celera Group buys 47.5% of Shanghai genetics firm

It and partner to control company with 1,000 clients in industry, medicine

January 14, 2000|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

PE Corp.-Celera Genomics Group, a fast-growing gene research company in Rockville, said yesterday that it had acquired a 47.5 percent stake in a genetic technology company in Shanghai, China.

Celera acquired its stake in Shanghai GeneCore BioTechnologies from Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc. in San Francisco. Terms were not disclosed.

PE Biosystems, another PE Corp. business, also owns a 47.5 percent stake in Shanghai GeneCore.

"This acquisition will help Celera expand its business globally and provide access to many new sources of genetic information," said J. Craig Venter, Celera's president and chief scientific officer.

"With a significant portion of the world's plant, animal and human genetic diversity located in China, access to this diversity will be fundamental in Celera expanding its genomic information," he said.

Shanghai GeneCore has a customer base of more than 1,000 academic institutions, hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies in China, Celera officials said.

Celera, which was formed in 1998, is trying to create the first human genetic blueprint.

The company also packages genetic information and sells software for drug research. Shares of the Rockville company closed yesterday at $216.875, up $1.875.

Celera's stock hit its trading high of $258 earlier this month after the company said its map of human genes was 90 percent complete. In June, Celera's stock traded as low as $14.1875.

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