By Tony Fong
SAN FRANCISCO (GenomeWeb News) - Presenting at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference held here, Danaher officials said Tuesday that the firm would be interested in entering the molecular diagnostics field.
The firm has been rumored as a bidder for Beckman Coulter, which put itself up for sale last month. The most recent reports suggest that a private equity suitor or a combination of private equity firms are among those remaining in the bidding process along with Danaher.
Danaher President and CEO Larry Culp did not address that speculation on Tuesday but did say that Danaher, an aggressive purchaser of businesses, plans on growing its life science business inorganically to build that business out. When asked about its interest in entering the molecular diagnostics space, Culp added that it is a hot field and one in which Danaher has interest.
The company, he said, has talked to a number of firms operating in the MDx space at the JP Morgan conference, both large and small, "to avail ourselves to them."
In a nod to its growing life sciences portfolio, in December the Washington DC-based conglomerate reported that it would report its Life Sciences & Diagnostics business as its own segment as part of the reorganization of its business groups. Life sciences and diagnostics had been part of Danaher’s Medical Technologies segment.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the company’s purchase of AB Sciex, which had been a joint-venture partnership between Life Technologies and MDS. According to Culp, "A year on, we couldn’t be happier" with the deal, even though he acknowledged that integration of the business into the Danaher fold has been complex.
Cost reductions have come in large part from a reduction in physical facilities, specifically the closing of three distribution plants to bring the number down to eight.
Soon after the AB Sciex deal was completed, Danaher purchased liquid chromatography firm Eksigent. Last month, one of its main competitors in the mass spectrometry space, Thermo Fisher, announced it would buy chromatography company Dionex for $2.1 billion.
Culp suggested today that another acquisition would not be part of Danaher’s growth strategy for AB Sciex. "The best of breed will carry the day," he said, adding that rather than another LC buy, AB Sciex will continue cultivating its relationship with LC providers to sustain the mass spec business.