Two heads are better than one

LGC’s Genomics division combines with KBioscience with aim of creating a market leading genomics position

Jeffrey Bouley
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TEDDINGTON, U.K.—Looking to create "a market-leading genomicservices and solutions provider," LGC Ltd., global company focused onanalytical, diagnostic and forensic services and reference standards, acquired KBioscienceLtd. at the beginning of July.
According to LGC, the acquisition of KBioscience, "with itsunique expertise in genotyping services, chemistries and related products,"extends and complements the genomic services and products supplied through LGC'sGenomics Division.
Reportedly, the founders of KBioscience remain partners andsignificant shareholders in the enlarged business alongside LGC, and theestablished national and international reputations of the combined companies isexpected to further LGC Genomics' aim to become Europe's leading provider ofgenomic services and related products. LGC's products and services in DNAsequencing and extraction are said to be "fully complementary to the systemsand services developed by KBioscience." According to LGC, the combined businessbenefits from a significant shared customer base and will use the knowledge andskills of the LGC and KBioscience teams to deliver a comprehensive set ofgenomics services and products now, as well as enable future innovations.
"I am very excited at the opportunities that our acquisitionby LGC holds," said Phil Robinson, managing director of KBioscience and one ofits the three founding partners, in the official announcement about the deal."The combination of LGC's well-known qualities and KBioscience's knowledge,expertise and innovation skills will open a range of market opportunities inEurope, North America and Asia, accelerating our development in the genomicsmarket."
"The enhanced LGC genomics service and products will deliverreal benefits to our customers in research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical andclinical markets," added David Richardson, CEO of LGC, in the officialstatement. "LGC is determined to take the lead in providing quality andoutstanding customer service in these important areas of science."
John McQuillian, managing director of LGC Genomics, tells ddn that the genesis for the deal largely arose from thefact that KBiosciencehas shown excellent growth since it was formed in 2002 andthe acquisition "both adds a genotyping offering to oursequencing services and also recognizes the great potential for futuregrowth that can be derived from combining the operations of KBioscience and LGCGenomics."
The companies were well-aware of each other already and havebeen for some years, he notes, given that they share a number of importantcustomers and have "collaborated where mutually beneficial" on jointprojects, as well as cross-referencing their customers to products and servicesof the other company.

As for why this is the right time to become a single entity, McQuilliansays that as part of a larger group "where its growth can be supported and theprofessional development of important functions can be resourced, KBioscience'spotential can now be realized. A key benefit of the business combination isthat the founding leaders of KBioscience will be able to devote their energiesto constantly innovating to create the unassailable long-term position that theworld's best businesses enjoy."
Although global business opportunity in the market forservices providers in Europe is quite fragmented, McQuillian admits, hebelieves that building scale through a combined business will help "do an evenbetter job for our joint business."

"LGC Genomics and KBioscience share many customers and this new alliancemeans that our customers will benefit from having one contact instead of two,"he concludes. "Many of the existing customers of both sides will be able to buymore from us and they will see a great deal more of our combined presence inthe form of personal selling and significant marketingand  promotion, as well as a greater pace of innovation."
LGC employs more than 1,460people in its role as a developer of new methods and standards in biotechnologyand analytical measurement.
Set up in 2002 to exploit the use of laser welding as aservice-based science company in the SNP genotyping market, KBioscience hasdeveloped its own range of SNP genotyping chemistry and novel instrumentationsince then. With 60 staff based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire in the UnitedKingdom and a small U.S. team in Beverly, Mass., the company processes morethan 1 million data points per day and has some 500,000 validated KASP assaysin stock. KBioscience has four separate divisions—laboratory services, reagents& consumables, instrumentation and software—and notable products includeKASP SNP genotyping chemistry, the Fusion laser plate sealer, water-bath basedthermal cycler and the Kleargene range of DNA purification chemistries. All ofthe products are supported by the internally developed laboratory informationmanagement system called KRACKEN.

Jeffrey Bouley

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