A new home for SQL*LIMS

Seeking new strategic direction, Life Technologies sells laboratory information management software business to LabVantage

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CARLSBAD, Calif.—The end of June saw the announcement by Life Technologies Corp. that it had signed a definitive agreement to sell its SQL*LIMS business to LabVantage Solutions Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Under the terms of the agreement, LabVantage will continue to support the SQL*LIMS product and customers will receive, according to a news release about the sale, "the same level of support to which they have been accustomed."

The SQL*LIMS business from Applied Biosystems, a part of Life Technologies, is an enterprise laboratory information management system (LIMS) provider. The system manages the laboratory process lifecycle and is used for tracking raw materials and samples as they enter and travel the laboratory workflow, for sample analysis, for data collection and for communication of this information to corporate systems.

"The SQL*LIMS business was a successful and viable business, but it was clearly orthogonal to our core business, so the feeling here was that we and our customers would benefit best by SQL*LIMS moving to a software-only, LIMS-only company," says Pat Pijanowski, general manager of the SQL*LIMS business unit for Life Technologies.

"While the LIMS business is an important asset for a segment of our customers, it was not a perfect fit with our strategic direction," continues Mark Stevenson, Life Technologies' president and CEO. "This agreement will allow us to better focus on our strengths, while ensuring continued access to a key solution in the laboratory workflow."

Pijanowski also believes the combination of these two leading LIMS businesses—the SQL*LIMS product and LabVantage's thin-client LIMS product, SAPPHIRE—will "allow for expanded and strengthened product offerings to meet the needs of this market."

Another reason the sale makes such good sense is that it makes for a more seamless, almost end-to-end solution, note Pijanowski and Ronald S. Kasner, vice president of corporate development for LabVantage. SQL*LIMS has fared best in the field of late-stage research and early-stage development, whereas SAPPHIRE has had more play in the areas of later-stage development, manufacturing and quality operations, according to Pijanowski.

"LabVantage was the best company to take over our SQL*LIMS business because the two products cater to different parts of the value chain," Pijanowski says.

But it's more than just the technology that LabVantage is getting, the companies note.

"This transaction creates a powerful combination of technology and people," says Jim Aurelio, president and CEO of LabVantage. "With more than 250 dedicated LIMS employees around the world, plus an extensive partner network, LabVantage will be even better equipped to meet the needs of customers seeking to deploy LIMS across their global enterprise."

Reportedly, the vast majority of those 250 employees come to LabVantage directly from Life Technologies' SQL*LIMS business, though neither company offered a precise breakdown when asked.

"We will continue to support the SQL*LIMS product and customers with the same high level of care and attention that they receive currently," says Aurelio. "These customers, indeed, all of our customers, will gain access to a broader portfolio of world-class software products and services."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009. Life Technologies does not expect this transaction to have a material affect on its financials in fiscal year 2009.

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