Beckman Acquires Lumigen

Chemiluminescent chemistries to be used in Beckman Coulter’s Access immunoassay systems.

Lisa Espenschade
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.
 
Lumigen's chemiluminescence techniques contributed greatly to Access's success and the develop­ment of a collaboration that, says Creager, has enabled Beckman Coulter and Lumigen to go beyond a typical vendor-buyer relation­ship. "We've enjoyed a lot of finan­cial success, as have they."

Lisa Espenschade

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