Beckman Coulter sets sail with Blue Ocean

Acquisition expands company’s flow cytometry portfolio

Kelsey Kaustinen
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BREA, Calif.—Beckman Coulter Life Sciences has announced theacquisition of Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based Blue Ocean Biomedical LLC. Amanufacturer of automated flow cytometry systems and reagents, privately heldBlue Ocean brings to Beckman Coulter a variety of low-complexity analyzers forautomated sample preparation and a library of reagents. Financial details ofthe acquisition were not disclosed.
 
 
"This acquisition provides both immediate opportunity andlong-term value," Scott Atkin, president of Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, saidin a press release. "The simplification of customer workflows will be dramatic.We'll be able to offer customers an extended line of market-leading technologywhile expanding our reach within a key segment for flow cytometry."
 
 
Blue Ocean's products represent the only "sample in, resultout" (SIRO) solution for clinical flow cytometry. The company opened a newmanufacturing facility in Miramar, Fla. in June 2010 for its CR series load& go Immune Monitoring Systems, and became ISO-certified for flow cytometrymanufacturing in February of last year. Its load-and-go systems perform immunemonitoring and related tasks, and the CR Series Automated Cytometry Systemsoffer a combination of automated sample preparation and analysis. Blue Ocean'sLG Series Flow Cytometry Systems, its fully automated, load-and-go systems forcounting CD4 cells and other subsets of lymphocytes (including percent andabsolute counts of T cells, B cells and NK cells), were introduced in July 2011at the International AIDS Society conference.
 
"Our team has developed a line of truly unique instrumentsystems: essentially, the world's first load-and-go flow cytometers," MikeBrochu, CEO and co-founder of Blue Ocean, said in a press release. "With itshistory of leadership and innovation in this field, Beckman Coulter has all theresources and technology needed to build on this platform and future systemsfor years to come."
 
 
Blue Ocean could not be reached for additional comment.
 
"Blue Ocean Biomedical was the first company to develop atrue 'sample in, result out' solution for flow cytometric applications, and wefeel the biggest gains will be for our customers that are looking for a productthat requires a minimum amount of training and close to no hands-on time, whileproviding fast and accurate results in a highly standardized fashion," saysMario Koksch, director of product management and strategy at Beckman CoulterLife Sciences. "Around the globe, skilled labor in laboratories is increasinglydifficult to obtain, and Blue Ocean Biomedical's load-and-go technology freesup time, allowing laboratory personnel to focus on more demanding and complextasks."
 
 
The acquisition adds to Beckman Coulter's own flow cytometryportfolio—which includes a variety of products and services such as flowcytometers, support reagents, cell-signaling reagents, centrifuges andmulti-color reagents for antibodies to both human antigens and non-humanantigens, among others—and gains the company a larger footprint in a growingmarket.
 
According to a 2011 report from BCC Research, the globalmarket for flow cytometry products reached $2.6 billion in 2010, and isexpected to reach $4.3 billion by 2015, thanks to a compound annual growth rateof 10.4 percent.
 
 
Koksch says Beckman Coulter "welcomes Blue OceanBiomedical's employees among its associates and will integrate the additionalexpertise gained through the acquisition," noting that the company's options interms of Blue Ocean's facilities "are currently being evaluated."
 
 
"The acquisition of Blue Ocean Biomedical provides BeckmanCoulter Life Sciences' instrument portfolio with a low-complexity cytometrysolution, thus enlarging the addressable market in both mature and emergingmarkets," he says. "Initially, there will be growth in the area of HIVmonitoring, but our partnership also gives us the opportunity to expand intoother applications where a high degree of standardization and automation isdesirable."

Kelsey Kaustinen

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