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Agilent Acquires Biocius, Lab901

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Agilent Technologies separately announced today and yesterday that has acquired Biocius Life Sciences and Lab901.

Financial and other terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Biocius is the developer of the RaidFire high-throughput mass spectrometry platform for drug screening, and was spun out of Biotrove in late 2009 after Biotrove was acquired by Life Technologies.

Agilent and Biocius had jointly introduced the RapidFire 360 system in May 2010 for the high-throughput screening of in vitro ADME assays.

According to Agilent, 13 of the top 14 biopharmaceutical companies use products from Biocius, based in Wakefield, Mass. The company had about 25 employees, all of whom have joined Agilent.

"With this technology and the team that developed it now part of Agilent, we can expand our reach in the pharmaceutical and clinical mass spec markets," said Gustavo Salem, vice president of Agilent's Biological Systems division within the Life Sciences Group.

Jeffrey Leathe, former chairman and CEO of Biocius, said that as the firm grew and sought to reach into new markets, "the natural evolution of the company was to partner with a world-class organization to accelerate our application development and further market penetration."

Also, on Monday after the close of the market, Agilent said that it acquired electrophoresis firm Lab901.

Based in Edinburgh, UK, Lab901 develops and manufactures electrophoresis products for DNA, RNA, and protein research. Among the products from the company are its TapeStation benchtop instrument and ScreenTape plastic-based consumables and associated reagents.

Lab901 was founded in 2001 and employs approximately 45 people. They, including Joel Fearnley, Lab901's former CEO, will join Agilent, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said, though it did not elaborate on Fearnley's position with the firm.

In a statement, Patrick Kaltenbach, vice president of Agilent's Liquid Phase Separations business, said that the deal allows his firm to address customer needs across the entire span of electrophoresis life science applications, from semi-automated to 96-well compatible workflows.

"Alongside our existing BioAnalyzer platform and the Agilent G7100 Electrophoresis System, the Lab901 ScreenTape System provides a very versatile, automated and scalable throughput gel electrophoresis solution for a wide range of applications," he said.

The ScreenTape System is a benchtop automated system for gel electrophoresis.

In late 2009 Lab901 raised about $4 million in equity funding from a group of UK investors for development of its products and increase international sales of the ScreenTape platform.