Acquisition will add ready-to-use culture media and instruments to Millipore’s existing franchise.

Merck KGaA will buy Biotest’s microbiology business, which includes Germany-based Heipha Dr. Müller and the Hycon businesses, together with subsidiaries in France, Japan, and the U.S., and additional activities across Europe. Heipha Dr. Müller and Hycon’s products are used primarily in the pharmaceutical, food/beverage, and personal-care industries. Combined sales by the relevant operations reached some €50 million in 2010.

Merck says the acquisitions will allow its EMD Millipore division to expand its industrial microbiology portfolio, and complement its existing dehydrated cell culture media and testing systems with ready-to-use culture media and instruments. “Due to increasing quality standards and regulatory scrutiny in combination with an increasing efficiency pressure in the relevant industries, the demand is shifting quickly to ready-to-use culture media and all-in-one solutions,” comments Klaus Bischoff, head of Millipore’s lab solutions business.

 “This acquisition is a great strategic fit on many levels,” adds Roland Heinrich, head of EMD Millipore’s biomonitoring business. “Not only do we expand our portfolio in a critical growth area of ready-to-use media, there are also many synergies in production, product and market development, and customer collaboration.”

Biotest’s core plasma proteins business develops and markets immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, and albumins based on human blood plasma, for use in immune and hematopoietic disorders. The firm is also developing an early clinical and preclinical pipeline of humanized monoclonal antibodies. BT-061 is designed to activate regulatory T cells and is in development primarily for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. BT-062 is a chimeric, toxin-coupled therapeutic monoclonal antibody that targets a molecule on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. BT-063 is in development for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus and potentially other autoimmune diseases.

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