CellzDirect sells

Invitrogen adds to its growing cell products line with $57 million buyout of CellzDirect

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CARLSBAD, Calif.—Looking to strengthen its position in the fast-growing primary cell market, Invitrogen announced, in early January, a $57 million acquisition of Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based CellzDirect, a six-plus-year-old company whose bread and butter is its line of hepatocyte-based cell products and services aimed at the drug testing market.While the CellzDirect product portfolio fills a gap in current Invitrogen cell offerings, the acquisition was based on much more than that, according to Martin Naley, VP of Invitrogen's cell culture business unit."What really excited us about their company was their approach to market, which is a science-first approach," Naley says. "They have taken their science out into the supply chain and have established unique relationships with surgical centers where they have convinced the surgeons that the margins of the tissues they [generate] use are useful for research."Naley says this is especially impressive in terms of generating the tissue needed for CellzDirect's business because the doctors need to take extra time during their procedures for the collection of the samples.For CellzDirect, which boasts 90 employees, split between its headquarters here and second location in Austin, Texas, the opportunity to become a part of Invitrogen was hard to pass up."We expect CellzDirect's growth rates to benefit from cross-promotion and combination with Invitrogen's technologies for cell culture, molecular biology and fluorescent detection, and from Invitrogen's world-class sales, marketing and distribution capabilities," says Scott Edelman, CellzDirect's CEO, in a statement announcing the deal.But this isn't the typical case of a larger corporation assimilating the smaller one and using its own, existing, sales force to drive increased sales. According to Naley, the CellzDirect sales force, which is primarily focused on selling it products to researchers studying enzymatic metabolism in the liver of drug candidates, will remain in place and will even be expanded over time."Their sales process has been to track compounds as they move through development and use this information for prospecting," he says. "We can help make their sales processes much more efficient and provide them with the same sales tools we use in-house. "The same reasoning applies in terms of CellzDirect's management team and employees, all of which will be retained by Invitrogen. This includes, CellzDirect CSO Edward LeCluyse, Ph.D., a recognized leader in the hepatic field. ddneditconnect: e020811


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