Life Technologies acquires Advanced Microscopy Group

Acquisition provides Life Technologies with a complete set of imaging products across a range of functionality and price Points and establishes a foundation for new product innovation in fluorescent and brightfield imaging devices

Jeffrey Bouley
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corp. announced Nov. 5 the acquisition of Advanced Microscopy Group (AMG), aprivately held developer of imaging systems for research microscopyincorporated as Westover Scientific Inc. Financial termsof the deal have not been disclosed.
 
Earlier this year, in February, after what it called "a year of whirlwind success," AMG was recognized by Thermo FisherScientific at the 2012 Thermo Fisher Scientific National Sales Meetingas the North American Vendor in 2011. At the time, AMG couched the award as "a clear message from Fisher Scientific that AMG is the brand to beatin the microscopy world." If so, Life Technologies has perhaps decided to modify the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy by simply absorbing the company.

The companies do have a history together, as AMG is the manufacturer of theFLoid Cell Imaging Station currently sold by Life Technologies. Acquiring AMG, Life Technologies indicates, enables the larger companyto expand its product line of cell imaging instrumentation, whileleveraging its Molecular Probes portfolio of fluorescent dyes andreagents.
 
The acquisition also provides newproduct development opportunities for both laboratory and portableimaging devices, the acquiring company notes, adding that Life Technologies' Molecular Probes range offluorescent dyes and probes are broadly used in the research marketand "constitute a natural complement" to the EVOS line ofmicroscopes manufactured by AMG.

"Our acquisition of AdvancedMicroscopy Group brings together two leaders in the cell imagingfield," said Peter Dansky, president of Molecular and CellBiology at Life Technologies. "With AMG's demonstratedexcellence in innovative microscopy instrumentation and the MolecularProbes line of market leading imaging reagents, we're now better ableto serve our customers with a complete portfolio of integratedsolutions for cell analysis optimized for performance and ease ofuse."

AMG has a portfolio of imaginginstruments that ranges from basic microscopy to advanced microscopy. The EVOS line, notably, has in part been designed to improve ease of use by eliminating conventionaleyepieces and replacing them with LCD screens. Two entry-levelmicroscopes, EVOS XL and EVOS XL-Core, address the tissue culturemarket for routine monitoring of cell culture through measurements ofcell density and morphology. The instruments are brightfield- andphase contrast-enabled and come with a range of magnification lensoptions. The EVOS FL, for its part, is a multi-color fluorescent microscope withbrightfield/phase contrast capabilities and a range of objectiveoptions, Life Technologies notes.

And, as previously noted, AMG also developed Life Technologies'FLoid Cell Imaging Station, a platform that Life says, "offers revolutionaryease of use for fluorescent microscopy." Introduced in late 2011,FLoid was intended to be the ideal choice for laboratories that arenew to imaging or do not require the advanced features found in moreexpensive instruments. The addition of the EVOS product linecomplements the FLoid system, Life says, "by maintaining simplicity in the userexperience, while providing advanced capabilities and automation thatare necessary for some applications."

"Ultimately, it is ourcustomers who will benefit most from the breadth of the combinedportfolios. It also uniquely positions Life in the cell imaging fieldand will serve as the foundation for the development of newapplications and products,"said said SteveLytle, founder and president of AMG, of the deal.

Life also stands to benefit a great deal, given estimates that the microscopy market will soon be approximately $770 million.

The acquisition of AMG is expectedto be neutral to Life's 2012 earnings, accretive to 2013 earnings andaccretive to the company's overall return on invested capital by 2015.
 
AMG's existing business willremain in Bothell, Wash., and will join Life Technologies' FlowCytometry and Imaging business unit.


Jeffrey Bouley

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