FULLERTON, Calif.—Beckman Coulter, Inc., announced in early October its acquisition of Lumigen, Inc., for $185 million cash in a transaction expected to close in early November. The purchase grew out of a long-standing collaboration and gives Beckman Coulter ownership of Lumigen's proprietary chemiluminescent chemistry technologies, which are used in Beckman Coulter's Access immunoassay systems.
Beckman Coulter also sees chances to expand its product lines for drug discovery and diagnostics using Lumigen's technology. "Clearly we see opportunities for their products and moving [them] into drug discovery or life science using our existing distribution networks. These products really are detection technologies," says Richard Creager, PhD, vice president of research and development for Beckman Coulter's immunoassay business. The two companies' products are particularly synergistic, he says, because Lumigen's generate light, which Beckman Coulter's instruments can measure.
Beckman Coulter is working on new versions of Access that incorporate more sensitive and advanced chemistries than the technology used in its current line. "They also have a number of other chemiluminescent technologies which we're interested in applying to our advanced generation technologies," says Creager, declining to cite specifics. Access was developed at Sanofi Diagnostics Pasteur (SDP), which opted to use Lumigen's chemiluminescent substrate around 1991. When Sanofi sold the product line to Beckman Coulter in 1997, Creager moved to Beckman from SDP, continuing his work on Access and collaboration with Lumigen. "Under Beckman, the product became very successful, so we were able to grow the business significantly from 1997 to now," says Creager.
As Beckman Coulter and Lumigen grew, say both Creager and Paul Schaap, president and founder of Lumigen, the need to scale up became a motivating factor for the acquisition. "We have a very strong research activity here, and that's certainly going to continue and will probably ramp up as a result of this [transaction]," says Schaap. Beckman Coulter's resources should benefit from Lumigen's development of chemiluminescent substrates and labels, which can be used in drug discovery areas including ELISA, western and southern blots, plus DNA and RNA detection systems, says Schaap.
Lumigen will retain its distribution infrastructure even after Beckman Coulter incorporates Lumigen products into its sales and marketing network. Schaap says current products and services will remain and Lumigen will continue to sell them to Beckman's competitors. Roughly 40 percent of Lumigen's $33 million in 2005 revenue came from Access-related sales to Beckman Coulter. Lumigen's life sciences customers include GE Healthcare/Amersham Biosciences and Dupont Qualicon.
Schaap says 44 people work at Lumigen in Southfield, Mich. "The intent is that everyone stays in their current positions," he says. Schaap will remain, becoming the general manager of Lumigen, which he says will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Beckman Coulter.