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After snapping up two Massachusetts companies, Germany’s Qiagen gains a local foothold

Overseas medical technology companies continue to stream into Greater Boston, lured by the area’s famous ecosystem of researchers, startups, and potential collaborators.

One company that flew in under the radar was Qiagen N.V., a Dutch holding company with corporate offices in Germany, which quietly acquired two privately held Massachusetts companies last year and may—or may not—be expanding its foothold in the Boston area.

Qiagen bought Intelligent Bio-Systems Inc. of Waltham, a next-generation sequencing startup, and AmniSure International LLC, a Boston maker of women’s health diagnostics, for undisclosed sums. Together, they employ about 55 workers, with Qiagen adding employees in the past year.

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But unlike pharmaceutical giants such as France’s Sanofi SA and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which purchased local drug makers partly to tap into Boston’s biomedical cluster and the US market, Qiagen was primarily interested in the technology at the companies it acquired, said Przemek Jedrysik, its associate director of public relations.

“We don’t look at geographic location that much,” Jedrysik said. “We see sequencing as becoming a greater part of the diagnostic market, and Intelligent Bio-Systems has the talent and the experience in the technology we need to build the business. It was the right fit.”

While the Waltham company is the development hub for the sequencing technology Qiagen is developing, it has also purchased a California company whose software will help it interpret data gathered in sequencing tests. Jedrysik said Qiagen, which has its US headquarters in Germantown, Md., hasn’t yet decided where to build out its sequencing business.

Qiagen, founded in 1984, entered the US market in 1991 and currently has more than 900 employees on this side of the Atlantic, mostly in Maryland and California. US sales account for about half its revenue, with the rest coming largely from Europe and Asia.

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