SAN FRANCISCO—Agilent Technologies said today it has acquired Luxcel Biosciences for an undisclosed price, in a deal intended to expand the buyer's cell-analysis portfolio with assay kits that are designed for ease-of-use and compatible with industry-standard plate readers.
The Luxcel acquisition fits the “sweet spot” parameters for purchases Agilent prefers to make, but not exclusively make, Agilent President and CEO Michael R. McMullen said during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan 36th Annual Healthcare Conference, held here at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. That is: Acquisitions of smaller, privately held businesses whose focus gibes with those of Agilent.
“Our focus is on bolt-ons like the one we just announced this morning, a nice bolt-on to our cell-analysis business. But we're also open to larger acquisitions that align with our long-term goals, in terms of our ability to gain more revenue and earnings expansion for the company,” McMullen said.
Those goals, McMullen said, include expanding in its four pillars: academia and government lab equipment; clinical diagnostics; chemicals, energy/food, environment; and Pharma and Biopharma applications—the segment Agilent intends to bolster through its Luxcel acquisition.
Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Luxcel is a developer of real-time fluorescence plate-reader–based in vitro cell-assay kits. The company's customers include university researchers, global biopharmas, and contract research organizations.
In addition to boosting its cell-analysis business, Agilent says the acquisition—the sixth since McMullen became CEO—will also accelerate its expansion into Pharma/Biopharma discovery and in vitro toxicology-screening applications.
Luxcel's in vitro cell-based assay kits and solutions are designed to target cell metabolism, drug safety and toxicity, and hypoxia and oxidative stress for life sciences customers ranging from drug developers to research institutions.
The Luxcel purchase comes more than two years after Agilent entered the cell analysis field in September 2015, through its $235 million acquisition of Seahorse Bioscience, whose specialized instruments include live-cell, kinetic assays.
“Together, we have the potential to accelerate new product introductions by leveraging Agilent's R&D and global commercial infrastructures with our unique biosensor chemistries and assay development expertise,” Luxcel CEO Richard Fernandes said in a statement.
Fernandes and Dmitri Papkovsky co-founded Luxcel in 2002 as a spinout of University College Cork, and a member of the High Potential Start Up program of Enterprise Ireland, the Republic of Ireland's economic development agency supporting Irish businesses pursuing global expansion.
Luxcel's 12 employees will remain in Cork and form a dedicated sensor chemistries and bioassay solutions group within Agilent's cell analysis division, Agilent said.