CARLSBAD, Calif.—Invitrogen Corp. announced in mid-May it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held immunological assay manufacturer Caltag Laboratories in a cash transaction totaling $20 million.
At press time, the transaction was still on track to be completed by the end of June, though no firm date had been set.
"This is part of an expansion of some of our downstream capabilities in proteomics," says Greg Geissman, public relations manager for Invitrogen. "We were looking at flow cytometry as something that researchers who work with us could move to after taking advantage of our strengths in other areas, such as separation, categorization, gel systems, and protein expression products."
This acquisition effort isn't the first step in that expansion plan, but it "adds another key capability" to the Invitrogen proteomic portfolio, says Gregory T. Lucier, chairman and chief executive officer of Invitrogen. That portfolio was bolstered earlier in the year by the acquisition of Zymed Laboratories and its 3,000 antibodies and related products. "Caltag also strengthens Invitrogen's new Antibody Center of Excellence that we have established in the San Francisco Bay area," Lucier adds.
"Adding our robust immunological technology collection to Invitrogen's broad proteomics portfolio will create a powerful solution for researchers looking for quality and consistency throughout their studies," said Helga Johnson, president and co-founder of Caltag, shortly after the acquisition plan was announced.
Geissman says that Invitrogen has been looking for companies in the downstream realm of proteomics for roughly the past nine months, and doesn't rule out future acquisitions. He says Invitrogen has a long-term strategy to "build out a more complete offering" and that the company will likely consider purchasing companies that can add other proteomics capabilities.
Caltag's antibodies are currently used in cellular research to detect cell surface and intercellular markers in human, rat and mouse cells. Caltag is also a pioneer in the development and introduction of tandem dyes for multi-color flow cytometry.
In addition to its work in the research market, Caltag has developed a number of technologies for diagnostic applications. Fifteen of the company's products have been cleared-to-date by the FDA through the 510(k) process for use as Class II In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices. Additionally, the company's facilities meet GMP requirements, enabling it to register approximately 500 antibodies as Class I Analyte Specific Reagents (ASRs) with the FDA.