Partners in proteomics

Belgian firm Eurogentec expands its reach into the proteomics space with AnaSpec acquisition

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 LIÈGE, Belgium—In a move to expand its proteomics andgeographic footprint, Belgian biotechnology firm Eurogentec SA recentlyannounced an agreement to purchase antibody company AnaSpec Inc., a privately-heldproteomics company based in Fremont, Calif.
Founded in 1993, AnaSpec is aleading provider of integrated proteomics solutions for life science researchand diagnostics with expertise in peptides synthesis, labeled peptides andantibodies, fluorescent dyes and enzyme activity assays. The company hasdeveloped one of the world's largest collections of catalog and dye-labeledpeptides in the fields of Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis and enzymeinhibitor screening.


"Bringing AnaSpec into the Eurogentec group is a strategicdecision for our company," Jean-Pierre Delwart, CEO of Eurogentec, says in astatement. "Through this acquisition, Eurogentec becomes a leading integratedsolution provider for the life science and diagnostics sectors. Our combinedexpertise enables Eurogentec to provide innovative solutions in the fields ofgenomics and proteomics for basic research in the biotech and pharmaceuticalsectors, as well as applied solutions in the diagnostics sector."


According to Albert Olson Hong, AnaSpec's businessdevelopment specialist, Eurogentec serves client base similar to AnaSpec interms of biotech, pharma, diagnostic and academic research institutions. 


"At the same time, while AnaSpec has focused primarily onproteomics-related technologies such as peptides and antibodies, Eurogentec hasdeveloped a significant catalog of genomics-based products," he says. "Thecombination of these two core competencies allows AnaSpec and Eurogentec toprovide a greater breadth of products and services for our research customers."


Leveraging its expertise in peptide, antibodies andfluorescent dyes, AnaSpec has established a portfolio of integrated proteomicssolutions such as FRET-based assays and SensoLyte assays for basic research,high-throughput screening and drug discovery. Further, AnaSpec's proprietaryfluorescent dyes are being used by the world's leading diagnostic companies toenhance their diagnostic solutions.


Delwart adds that the HiLyte Fluor dyes and QXL quenchersthat are part of AnaSpec's high-performance detection assays will be integratedinto Eurogentec's comprehensive portfolio of oligonucleotides.


"This will establish a license-friendly alternative to mostdye-labeled oligonucleotides from competitors for commercial and diagnosticapplications," he notes. "Moreover, AnaSpec considerably strengthensEurogentec's geographical presence in the U.S. and Eurogentec will directlymarket and support AnaSpec's products in the EU."


Among Eurogentec's offerings are antibodies, proteins andpeptides; to date, its profile in proteomics has been minor. The purchase ofAnaSpec could change that tide, says Delwart. With many drug companies focusingtheir efforts on biologics, Delwart points out that the future of new drugdevelopment will be in proteins, and new proteomics tools and methods will beneeded for that.


"People need to analyze proteins, and proteomics tools havea bright future," he adds. "That's why we intend to develop Eurogentec more inthe proteomics field."


Hong points out that AnaSpec had been experiencingconsistent growth prior to its merger with Eurogentec. 


"AnaSpec will continue to leverage its proprietarytechnologies to launch new peptides, dyes, assay kits, and antibodies," hepoints out.  "The integration ofAnaSpec and Eurogentec provides AnaSpec with new opportunities fortechnological innovation, a larger sales force, and increased exposure toEuropean markets."


The AnaSpec deal also gives Eurogentec increased access tothe U.S. market, where about half of total life science sales worldwide aregenerated, Delwart points out.

Hong adds that the acquisition creates an entity withexpertise in a broader spectrum of technologies and therefore a wider selectionof products and services for both Eurogentec and AnaSpec customers. 


"We expect that this will translate into increasedinnovation through integration of AnaSpec's patented HiLyte Fluor dyes withEurogentec genomics products, mainly for diagnostic use," he notes. "We areexcited about the expanded customer base for both companies and an increasinglyglobal presence for both companies. For Eurogentec this means greaterpenetration into the North American markets and for AnaSpec this means greaterexpansion into European markets."


Hong says officials expect that the merger will have apositive impact on both companies. 


"We will have succeeded if both Eurogentec and AnaSpeccustomers feel that they are well-served by a wider range of products for bothproteomics and genomics research and that they have increased access to salesrepresentatives," he concludes. "As we leverage our technologies, we will havesucceeded if we are able to create innovative new solutions that advance theresearch of our customers."


The founders of AnaSpec, Anita Hong, president, and FrankHong, CEO, commented that "it is important for the sustained development ofAnaSpec to integrate into a larger organization, where its current assets andcompetencies can bring real added value. The total complementarities betweenEurogentec's and AnaSpec's existing businesses and the cross-fertilizationopportunities for future developments are a key factor for the success of thispartnership. We are very much looking forward to closely working with theEurogentec team from this perspective."


Anita and Frank Hong will remain aboard the company inleading roles in continuing to grow AnaSpec's businesses, further expanding thehigh-value detection reagents focus and facilitating integration withEurogentec. Eurogentec intends to maintain the company's state-of-the-artFremont facility and its employees.


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