The tech business week: Deals for 23andMe, CIT and Tyndall National Institute


12 Jan 2015

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with a US$60m deal to enable home gene-testing kit producer 23andMe to expand its business model to the pharmaceutical industry.

23andMe to receive US$60m in funding to sequence Parkinson’s genomes

Home gene-testing kit producer 23andMe is looking to expand its business model to the pharmaceutical industry after signing a deal worth US$60m to analyse 3,000 Parkinson’s disease genomes.

23andMe, which has backing from a number of serious investors, including Facebook’s Yuri Milner, is now expanding to large pharmaceuticals by striking a deal with the company Genentech.

According to Forbes, the deal will see Genentech invest US$10m initially in 23andMe with a further US$50m if it is to reach its set milestones as it analyses the genes of the estimated 800,000 people who have purchased home-testing kits, giving an enormous amount of data to use for research into Parkinson’s disease.

However, because the 23andMe test only goes so far into a person’s genomes, Genentech will be looking to complete a full sequence to get the best overall picture for 3,000 participants.

CIT and Tyndall National Institute sign world deal with ProPhotonix

Photonics technology developed by the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Tyndall National Institute will now be seen on the world stage after they signed a deal with LED and laser company ProPhotonix to expand photonics technologies.

As part of the deal, the latter will have access to the Cork-based institutions’ laser module technology, which is known to have applications in the food, industrial, medical and security sectors.

The new deal is also expected to extend ProPhotonix’s range of laser products.

Sage software partners in Dublin merge to create a €2m business

Two Sage business partners, Advent Processing Solutions and ADP Business Solutions, are to merge, resulting in a new company that will have more than €2m in annual sales revenue.

The new company will be known as Envisage Cloud and it will employ 20 people.

“The merger represents a significant increase in the scale and breadth of our business,” said Envisage Cloud managing director Peter Bergin. “Now with technical expertise to offer customers the option of cloud software with Sage 200 Online, businesses can gain online access to critical information securely from anywhere.”

Envisage Cloud will serve more than 500 Sage customers across Ireland.

Intel eyes a bargain with US$24.8m investment in smartglasses tech

Intel is the latest company to enter the fray with technology for smartglasses, now that the chip-maker has made a US$24.8m investment in Vuzix, a supplier of video eyewear and smartglasses.

Vuzix said that with this investment, Intel’s ownership of the company through stock now stands at about 30pc and Vuzix already has plans to pump the new funds into developing its next range of wearable tech.

Compared with the leaders in the market of smartglasses, Google Glass, Vuzix is aiming to create its own range of smartglasses that will be catered more towards specific industry or sector needs, including doctors, customer relations staff, stockroom employees and, of course, those in the gaming industry.

Xiaomi is coming – smartphone start-up to expand beyond Asia to rest of world

Four-year-old Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has reported revenues of US$12bn after selling more than 61m smartphones last year.

The company plans to sell 100m devices in 2015, fuelled by an international expansion into Eastern Europe and South America, specifically Russia and Brazil at first.

“This year, we will enter even more overseas markets,” Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said. “We believe everyone in the world would appreciate the opportunity to enjoy technology innovation. Thus we remain fully committed to our global business.”

Technology research and advisory firm Gartner confirmed last month that Xiaomi is now the world’s third largest smartphone maker.

Financial results this week

Chip giant Intel is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter 2014 financial results on Thursday.

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Genetic testing image via Shutterstock