IDT on deck

Integrated DNA Technologies acquires 1st BASE oligonucleotide business in Singapore

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CORALVILLE, Iowa—With a goal of expanding its reach intoSoutheast Asia, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) has acquired 1st BASEPte. Ltd., with IDT picking up the oligonucleotide business of Singapore's topsupplier in the field.
Terms of the acquisition have not been released.
With the completion of the deal, IDT will offer locallymanufactured oligos to researchers in Singapore and throughout the region fromthe company's first synthesis facility in Asia.
Trey Martin, IDT's chief operating officer, says IDT chose 1stBase as its partner in Asia for three reasons, each reinforcing the others.
"Most important is that the people at IDT and 1st Base sharea basic philosophy about how best to serve the research community with thehighest quality custom products, delivered as quickly as possible, and at aprice that enables new and innovative research," he says. "Second, IDT had beenworking with the 1st Base team for several years, and we were thereforecomfortable making colleagues of our collaborators. In many ways, theacquisition represented a deepening of an ongoing partnership between our twocompanies. Finally, we know that IDT's long term growth depends upon offeringthe IDT advantage directly to researchers, locally."  
Martin also points out that the existing relationshipbetween IDT and 1st Base was critically important to making the acquisitionpossible.
"The long relationship between the people on our teams—nowthe same team—will be even more important to ensure the success of our businessin Asia," he says. "We found that common commitment in 1st Base and,frankly, only in 1st Base. Without the opportunity to begin ourinvestment in Asia with 1st Base as our partner, IDT would havelikely taken the task alone."
From synthesis facilities in Iowa and California, IDT isable to reach its research customers in North America with local-level salesand customer service, and to provide them with market-leading turnaroundtime. 
"When IDT began synthesis operations in Leuven, Belgium, weachieved the same ability to serve researchers throughout Europe, includingwith local-language technical customer service and sales support," says Martin."Our acquisition of 1st Base is a very large first step toward bringing all ofwhat IDT has to offer to researchers throughout Southeast Asia, with the sameexpert, local-language customer service and quick turnaround time that ourcustomers in North America and Europe currently enjoy."
In recognition of 1st BASE's leadership among theregion's oligo providers, IDT has named its new company in Singapore 1st BASECustom Oligos Pte. Ltd. (FBCO), and IDT will retain the "1st BASE"brand for the small scale DNA oligos that it synthesizes in Singapore. Kok Choy"KC" Lee, 1st BASE's CEO, has become the general manager of FBCO anda member of IDT's leadership in Asia. 
The Asian market has a strong attraction for IDT as thecompany looks to serve its customer-collaborators in life sciences research andto grow its business. 
"Achieving those goals means being close to researcherswhere investment in the life sciences is also growing, both in absolute and inrelative terms," says Martin. "North America and Europe will always be verylarge markets for IDT's custom biology products, because both public andprivate investments in the life sciences will continue to drive economic growththere."
At the same time, the company expects that life-sciencesinvestment in Asia has entered a long period of sustained increase that willlikely outpace the rates of growth elsewhere, both in the public and privatesectors. 
"Asia is also quickly developing into an innovation leader,"notes Martin. "IDT's philosophy has always been to encourage innovation byreducing the cost of the highest quality products needed for basic research. Ifwe can offer to researchers in Asia what we've successfully provided to all ourcustomers for over two decades, we're confident that IDT can grow in and withAsia as the region cements its place as a global center for life sciencesresearch."
Looking toward the future, Damon Terrill, IDT's generalcounsel for international matters, says the company is always looking for newopportunities with the right partners.
"At the same time, our experience shows that acquisitionssucceed only when integration succeeds," he says. "That requires the focusedinvestment of time and resources, most importantly human resources. IDT's teamwill thus concentrate for some time to come on making 1st Base CustomOligos an integral part of our global business, and as our first priority inAsia."
Mark Campbell, who leads IDT's sales efforts in Asia and whowill serve as FBCO's managing director, says IDT will gauge the success of theacquisition by its success in growing sales in the region.
"We have a lot of investment ahead of us in synthesisfacilities, training, and integration. But we are starting right away to develop new sales channels," he says.
IDT expects to achieve rates of growth in Asia similar towhat its European business has achieved since 2008, when it began localsynthesis operations in Belgium. 
"We get there by persuading customers of the IDT advantage,then delivering that advantage to them as they invest in new and moreinnovative research," concludes Campbell. "Asia will doubtless present uniquechallenges, as do all new markets. But we're confident that the basic formulafor IDT's success elsewhere in the world will work in Asia, too."

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