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Life Technologies acquires Advanced Microscopy Group
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


CARLSBAD, Calif.Life Technologies Corp. announced Nov. 5 the acquisition of Advanced Microscopy Group (AMG), a privately held developer of imaging systems for research microscopy incorporated as Westover Scientific Inc. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Earlier this year, in February, after what it called "a year of whirlwind success," AMG was recognized by Thermo Fisher Scientific at the 2012 Thermo Fisher Scientific National Sales Meeting as the North American Vendor in 2011. At the time, AMG couched the award as "a clear message from Fisher Scientific that AMG is the brand to beat in the microscopy world." If so, Life Technologies has perhaps decided to modify the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy by simply absorbing the company.

The companies do have a history together, as AMG is the manufacturer of the FLoid Cell Imaging Station currently sold by Life Technologies. Acquiring AMG, Life Technologies indicates, enables the larger company to expand its product line of cell imaging instrumentation, while leveraging its Molecular Probes portfolio of fluorescent dyes and reagents.
The acquisition also provides new product development opportunities for both laboratory and portable imaging devices, the acquiring company notes, adding that Life Technologies' Molecular Probes range of fluorescent dyes and probes are broadly used in the research market and "constitute a natural complement" to the EVOS line of microscopes manufactured by AMG.

"Our acquisition of Advanced Microscopy Group brings together two leaders in the cell imaging field," said Peter Dansky, president of Molecular and Cell Biology at Life Technologies. "With AMG's demonstrated excellence in innovative microscopy instrumentation and the Molecular Probes line of market leading imaging reagents, we're now better able to serve our customers with a complete portfolio of integrated solutions for cell analysis optimized for performance and ease of use."

AMG has a portfolio of imaging instruments that ranges from basic microscopy to advanced microscopy. The EVOS line, notably, has in part been designed to improve ease of use by eliminating conventional eyepieces and replacing them with LCD screens. Two entry-level microscopes, EVOS XL and EVOS XL-Core, address the tissue culture market for routine monitoring of cell culture through measurements of cell density and morphology. The instruments are brightfield- and phase contrast-enabled and come with a range of magnification lens options. The EVOS FL, for its part, is a multi-color fluorescent microscope with brightfield/phase contrast capabilities and a range of objective options, Life Technologies notes.

And, as previously noted, AMG also developed Life Technologies' FLoid Cell Imaging Station, a platform that Life says, "offers revolutionary ease of use for fluorescent microscopy." Introduced in late 2011, FLoid was intended to be the ideal choice for laboratories that are new to imaging or do not require the advanced features found in more expensive instruments. The addition of the EVOS product line complements the FLoid system, Life says, "by maintaining simplicity in the user experience, while providing advanced capabilities and automation that are necessary for some applications."

"Ultimately, it is our customers who will benefit most from the breadth of the combined portfolios. It also uniquely positions Life in the cell imaging field and will serve as the foundation for the development of new applications and products,"said said Steve Lytle, founder and president of AMG, of the deal.

Life also stands to benefit a great deal, given estimates that the microscopy market will soon be approximately $770 million.

The acquisition of AMG is expected to be neutral to Life's 2012 earnings, accretive to 2013 earnings and accretive to the company's overall return on invested capital by 2015.
AMG's existing business will remain in Bothell, Wash., and will join Life Technologies' Flow Cytometry and Imaging business unit.

Code: E11051201



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