Stretching out a bit

Millipore expands drug discovery and development services in Europe with BioAnaLab acquisition

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BILLERICA, Mass.—Millipore has long been a provider of technologies and tools for the global life sciences market, but it's also been a services provider for a while and a company with ever-increasing interest in drug discovery/development work and the biopharmaceutical services business in particular. It has advanced the latter with an Aug. 10 deal under with it acquired BioAnaLab, a European-based services provider that specializes in the analysis of biologic drugs and vaccines, and thereby not only expanded its biopharmaceutical services business into Europe but also further strengthened its position as a preferred outsource partner to biopharmaceutical companies.

"As an increasing number of biologics enter the pipeline, companies are leveraging Millipore's ligand binding assay expertise to help them evaluate the efficacy of these drugs and achieve regulatory compliance," says Jonathan DiVincenzo, president of Millipore's Bioscience Division. "Our acquisition of BioAnaLab will allow us to build on our reputation as a trusted outsource partner in North America by establishing a presence in the fast-growing European biotech market.

Based in Oxford, United Kingdom, BioAnaLab is a 2002 spin-out from the University of Oxford that was established to meet the special requirements of the biopharmaceutical industry by helping customers better understand the safety and efficacy of biologic drugs and vaccines. BioAnaLab provides a broad range of services to help evaluate and advance therapeutics from the drug development pipeline into the market. Such services include: assay transfer /development, validation and sample analysis, pharmacokinetics/ toxicokinetics, immunogenicity, biological potency, and vaccine services.

DiVincenzo notes that "Millipore will bring substantial expertise in biomarker analytical services" to strengthen BioAnaLab's current offerings, and notes that in turn, "BioAnaLab will add cGMP support testing capabilities to our portfolio, a solid customer base, and a team of highly talented services professionals with expertise in emerging scientific disciplines."

BioAnaLab's European facility in Oxford will complement Millipore's existing facility for large molecule bioanalytical services in St. Charles, Mo. Both facilities are audited by their national regulatory agencies—in fact, BioAnaLab got its Good Manufacturing Practice certification in February 2008.

"The merger creates a partnership of world-leading bioanalytical laboratories which share an uncompromising commitment to quality with outstanding scientific expertise," BioAnaLab notes on its own Web site. "BioAnaLab's range of services and base [in Oxford] perfectly complements Millipore BioPharma Services [in Missouri] to provide a global service for the pharmaceutical industry. A crucial part of the deal is the long-term commitment of the BioAnaLab management team to continue to serve the company."

As part of that long-term commitment Dr. Geoff Hale, founder and CEO of BioAnaLab, will remain with Millipore and become director of biopharma services in Europe. He will work closely with Dr. Ron Bowsher, Millipore's chief scientist for biopharmaceutical services in the United States.

"We are excited to join forces with Millipore as we work to become the world's leading provider of large molecule bioanalytical services," Hale says. "Through Millipore's global market presence, we will add new capabilities and increase our capacity to serve our customers across the world. I am particularly pleased to be joining a company that shares our passion for combining top scientific expertise with an uncompromising commitment to quality."

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