Malvern Instruments completed its acquisition of NanoSight, in a deal that marries the maker of nanoparticle detection machines to a global provider with a broader portfolio of instrumentation and expertise for materials and biophysical characterization. The price was not disclosed.

NanoSight is based on technology invented by microbial biochemist Bob Carr, Ph.D., who co-founded the company and serves as its CTO. Carr’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) detects and visualizes within liquids populations of nanoparticles as small as 10 nm (depending on the material, specifically the difference in refractive index between the particles and the solvent) then measures the size of each particle based on direct observations of diffusion.

The particle-by-particle methodology produces higher resolution particle-size distributions than possible through traditional light-scattering and other ensemble techniques. NTA also measures particle concentration, validating its data through video of the moving particles.

Among applications for NTA that Malvern is looking to grow is detection of exosomes, biological nanoparticles central to cell signaling in cancers, diabetes, and other diseases. As NanoSight CEO Jeremy Warren told GEN earlier this year, NanoSight is capable of detecting exosomes ranging from 30 to 100 nm, well below the 300 nm size detectable through flow cytometry.

“The plans we have are ambitious and exciting, and the support and reach of the Malvern organization will allow us to grow more rapidly than we could alone,” Warren said in a statement. “We have always seen Malvern as the clear leader in our sector, and the exemplar of what we wish to become.”

Malvern’s portfolio includes instruments that specialize in molecular size, structure, and weight, as well as chemical identification, microrheology, particle shape and size, protein aggregation and mobility, rheological properties, and zeta potential.

The company’s products include the Zetasizer series, which according to the company is the system used most widely worldwide for nanoparticle, colloid, and protein size, zeta potential, and molecular weight measurements. Zetasiazer measures particle and molecule size from below a nanometer to several microns using dynamic light scattering; zeta potential and electrophoretic mobility using electrophoretic light scattering; and molecular weight using static light scattering.

As of May, NanoSight had installed more than 600 systems worldwide for customers that include pharma giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche, as well as numerous universities and research institutes. More than 800 third-party papers have cited nanoparticle observations obtained by using NanoSight equipment.

NanoSight’s 2012 sales were £5.7 million ($8.6 million). NanoSight has grown sales by more than 60% annually, year-over-year since 2005, and the company generates 90% of sales outside the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, NanoSight was selected to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation, just a year after receiving the 2012 Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

NanoSight has grown every year since it was established in 2002, and has ambitious plans for the future,” said Paul Walker, managing director of Malvern Instruments. “We will be providing the investment and support needed to continue this drive forward and are absolutely committed to developing the NanoSight brand within the Malvern portfolio.

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