LONDON & OXFORD, U.K.—Bolstering its weapons in the global race to find a cure for COVID-19, London-based LGC has acquired The Native Antigen Company (NAC), one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-quality infectious disease antigens and antibodies. NAC was one of the first companies globally to offer antigens for SARS-CoV-2, and the Oxford-based company continues to play an important role in supporting the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NAC’s portfolio includes more than 60 viral and infectious disease products, with strengths in Dengue, cytomegalovirus, Zika, Chikungunya and Clostridium difficile (C. diff).
The acquisition strengthens LGC’s existing product offering to the in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) sector, which includes a range of quality assurance tools, immunoassay reagents and disease state plasma, as well as probes and primers for molecular diagnostics (MDx).
“NAC is a natural fit with our clinical diagnostics business and will enable us to provide an expanded portfolio of critical reagents to our customers,” says Michael Sweatt, executive vice president and general manager of Clinical Diagnostics at LGC. “NAC’s focus on infectious disease is highly complementary with our existing offer to this segment, comprising controls, reference materials, MDx tools and other components. We are excited to welcome our new colleagues into our organization.”
Adds Nick Roesen, chief operating officer of NAC: “We are delighted to be joining LGC as an integral part of their fast-growing clinical diagnostics business—and even more so, we are excited to join such a well-respected organization that shares our purpose and mission, and that will support our diagnostic customers by providing even more world-leading products and services.”
Alongside NAC, LGC has been playing a major role in supporting the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic through its LGC Clinical Diagnostic Division, developing and providing reference material kits and verification panels for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing, supporting both IVD companies and clinical laboratories through reference material kits and performance panels for serology testing, and supporting clinical laboratories, says Dr. Andy Lane, commercial director at NAC.
“Adding NAC’s expertise and capability in antigen production provides an additional group of key reagents for COVID-19, and in the longer term, enhances LGC’s capability to support infectious disease assay development and research,” Lane adds.
Going forward, it’s all about stopping the surge of COVID-19.
“Researchers and assay developers have been increasing their understanding of COVID-19 at a remarkable pace since February,” Lane says. “This increased knowledge is leading to the development of new, improved second-generation assays using both existing and newly developed reagents, and LGC is committed to supporting IVD companies by providing all of the tools they need to bring these assays to market as quickly as possible.
“A top priority is faster, highly accurate tests for [COVID-19], but also tests that facilitate some prediction of which patients may suffer serious symptoms rather than mild illness, would be immensely useful. Our reagents are also helping researchers understand the immune response to the virus and aid effective vaccine design and testing.”
“In the short term, as it pertains to the NAC, our goal is to provide the widest possible range of support to those working to diagnose and control COVID-19,” Lane remarks. “The long-term goals include helping LGC develop its Clinical Diagnostics Division into a world-leading supplier of tools for the IVD industry, research, pharma and for academia, providing solutions and expertise across the full range of applications and clinical disciplines.”