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Bio-Techne Agrees to Buy ProteinSimple for $300M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Bio-Techne today announced a deal to buy protein analysis technology firm ProteinSimple for $300 million in cash.

The deal, which is anticipated to close on or around July 31, will be funded by Bio-Techne through cash on hand and a new revolving line of credit facility that Bio-Techne expects to obtain before the closing of the acquisition.

Based in Santa Clara, Calif., ProteinSimple, which changed its name from Cell Biosciences in July 2011, develops instruments and consumables for protein research. Its core product line is the Simple Western portfolio of systems and assays, including the Wes, which can deliver 25 Western blot results in less than three hours, Bio-Techne said.

According to ProteinSimple's website, it has installed more than 14,000 total systems globally.

For the 12 months ended May 31, ProteinSimple's revenues grew 30 percent year over year to $57.1 million. In early May, the company filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering to raise as much as $86.3 million.

It has more than 200 employees with manufacturing operations in Canada and sales offices in Japan and China. Its customers include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and, Bio-Techne said, the introduction of the Wes platform is anticipated to drive platform adoption in the academic research space.

Bio-Techne, based in Minneapolis, develops and manufactures purified proteins, such as cytokines and growth factors, antibodies, immunoassays, and biologically active small molecule compounds sold to biomedical researchers and clinical research labs. Bio-Techne CEO Charles Kummeth said in a statement that ProteinSimple's products fit naturally with his firm's offerings, and noted that Bio-Techne sells antibody reagents that are validated by Western blots, tying in with the needs of ProteinSimple's customers.

"This business adds significant benefits by expanding our sales force and signals our desire to participate as an innovative force in the laboratory instruments space to better leverage our consumables business of high quality reagents," Kummeth said.

ProteinSimple will operate as a division of Bio-Techne and will be headed by the firm's current CEO Tim Harkness. ProteinSimple's leadership team will remain in place after the closing of the acquisition, Bio-Techne said.

Leerink analyst Dan Leonard today called the deal "very attractive" to Bio-Techne and noted ProteinSimple's revenue growth rate, which he said was up 27 percent year over year in 2013. "We think it reasonable to assume ProteinSimple retains a [greater than 20 percent] revenue growth rate for the foreseeable future, driven off the back of its recent new product launch, Wes," he said in a research note.

He added that he expects the deal to be modestly dilutive to Bio-Techne in 2015 and accretive in 2016.

Amanda Murphy of William Blair also was positive on the deal and reiterated an Outperform rating on Bio-Techne. "We view ProteinSimple as a good deal that fits in line with [Kummeth's] strategy to expand more into instrumentation while leveraging [Bio-Techne's] proprietary content to drive more of a razor/razorblade model," she said in a research note.

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