Agilent acquires BioTek

Global giant seeks to grow its live cell analysis capability

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Agilent Technologies Inc. is acquiring privately owned BioTek Instruments of Winooski, Vt., for $1.165 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed in Agilent’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2019.
Agilent, a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets, generated revenues of $4.91 billion in fiscal 2018. Employing 15,550 people worldwide, the 50-year-old company offers instruments, software and services. The combined portfolio created by this transaction will enable Agilent to offer a more complete and integrated solution for customers in the fast-growing area of live cell analysis. Additionally, the acquisition positions Agilent well in the burgeoning immuno-oncology and immunotherapy markets and enlarges the company’s presence in biopharma, academia and research.
In 2018, Agilent and BioTek joined forces on an integrated solution that combines cellular metabolic analysis and imaging technologies. The optimized solution integrates the Agilent Seahorse XFe96 / XFe24 Analyzers with the BioTek Cytation 1 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader, creating a standardized approach for comparing XF data sets and improving assay workflow.
“By combining BioTek’s offerings with Agilent’s, we will deliver a breadth of differentiated workflows, enabling customers to obtain deeper, more reliable insights across a variety of cell analysis applications,” said Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Applied Markets Group. “This positions Agilent well as customers seek to understand complex cellular environments and interactions.”
According to Zacks Investment Research, acquisitions have been playing a key role in shaping the growth of Agilent in the cell analysis market. In addition to BioTek, Agilent purchased Seahorse Bioscience, which acted as a stepping-stone in this particular market. Agilent entered the cell analysis segment in 2015 by acquiring Seahorse, a leader in providing specialized instruments and live-cell kinetic assays. Agilent Seahorse XF technology was critical in the evolution of cellular metabolism analysis, enabling researchers to better understand metabolic profiles in live cells.
Also, as Zacks noted, Agilent acquired Luxcel Biosciences in January 2018 and ACEA Biosciences in September 2018. Luxcel’s assays use soluble sensors to analyze metabolism, making them a perfect complement to Agilent’s Seahorse XF technology, providing researchers with more options to analyze live-cell metabolism. The Luxcel buyout helped Agilent to expand its Cork facility in Ireland, with the objective of developing advanced technologies for real-time live-cell analysis. ACEA Biosciences is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high-performance cell analysis platforms for life-science research.
As a Zacks investor’s note reported, “We believe all these strong endeavors position Agilent well to reap benefits from the global cell analysis market, which is growing rapidly on the back of increased prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases, and rising research and development activities in life science.”
BioTek is a recognized leader for plate-readers and imaging systems with offerings that complement Agilent’s portfolio. A global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of innovative life-sciences instrumentation, Biotek’s comprehensive product line includes cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators and stackers. These products enhance life-sciences research by giving customers high-performance, cost-effective analysis across diverse applications. BioTek generated revenues of $162 million in fiscal year 2018, which ended Dec. 31, and is expected to grow approximately 10 percent in 2019.
According to Mike McMullen, Agilent president and CEO, “BioTek represents a strong strategic fit with Agilent. The combination of these two companies will accelerate our multi-year growth strategy to expand our position in cell analysis. This is another example of Agilent investing in high-growth segments of the life-sciences market to serve new and existing customers. Agilent is committed to continuing operations in Vermont and retaining the great team of nearly 500 employees that have been at the core of BioTek’s 50-year history of excellence and success.”
“BioTek and Agilent have already been in partnership for over a year, successfully unlocking significant value through joint development of customer solutions,” Briar Alpert, CEO of BioTek, added in a press release. “Both companies share the same focus on customers and employees, as well as a similar purpose, mission and values. I am confident that this is the winning formula for our employees and customers around the world.”

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