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Bruker to Buy Michrom Biosciences, Acquire Nanoflow-LC for Proteomics Workflows

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Bruker this week said it has signed an agreement to acquire liquid chromatography firm Michrom Biosciences.

The company cited a particular interest in Michrom's recently launched Advance nanoflow ultra-high performance LC system and CaptiveSpray ionization sources for mass spec work in proteomics.

The deal is expected to close within weeks. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Bruker did say it intends to retain all Michrom employees and that the company's founder and CEO Kerry Nugent will join Bruker as senior vice president, Liquid Chromatography. Michrom had roughly $3 million in revenue in 2010.

The deal is the latest in a series of purchases of nanoflow LC firms by large mass spec vendors. Last February AB Sciex purchased Eksigent Technologies' LC portfolio (PM 02/19/2010), and in April Thermo Fisher Scientific scooped up Danish nano-LC firm Proxeon (PM 04/16/2010). Thermo Fisher is currently in the process of completing its $2.1 billion acquisition of LC company Dionex, which also has nanoflow devices in its portfolio (PM 12/17/2010). The company expects that deal to close in early second quarter this year.

In a statement, Collin D'Silva, president of Bruker's Chemical and Applied Markets division said the Michrom acquisition would provide the company's mass spec customers "with significant gains in throughput, sensitivity, and robustness for proteomics" applications.

On an investor call this week to discuss the company's Q4 2010 earnings, Bruker chief financial officer Brian Monahan cited mass spec as a key growth area for the company, noting that it had seen "double-digit growth the last few years" and would have momentum heading into 2011.

During the call, Bruker reported Q4 2010 revenues of $416.1 million, compared to $366.4 million a year ago – a 14 percent increase. Its Q4 net income shrank 33 percent to $29.3 million, or $.18 per share, from $43.5 million, $.26 per share a year ago.

For the quarter, R&D costs rose 30 percent to $44.9 million from $34.6 million a year ago.

For full-year 2010, revenues increased to $1.3 billion, up 17 percent from $1.11 billion in 2009. Full-year net income increased 17 percent to $95.4 million, or $.58 per share, from $81.2 million, or $.49 per share, a year ago.

R&D spending rose 12 percent in 2010 to $141.4 million from $126.4 million in 2009.

As of Dec. 31, the company said it had $233.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash.

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