Bio-Rad Laboratories said it is acquiring AbD Serotec from parent company MorphoSys for €53 million ($69.7 million). The deal adds Serotec’s more than 15,000 antibodies, kits, and accessories to Bio-Rad’s portfolio of research and clinical diagnostic products.

The deal, disclosed yesterday, is set to close by the first quarter of 2013. In addition to Serotec, Bio-Rad also agreed to acquire MorphoSys’ subsidiaries in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany; and completed a fully paid-up, nonexclusive license agreement with MorphoSys to use MorphoSys’s HuCAL® (Human Combinatorial Antibody Library) technology for diagnostic and research purposes.

HuCAL is a collection of several billion distinct fully human antibodies that allows for rapid in vitro selection of antibodies with what MorphoSys says is high affinity and specificity.

“With this acquisition, Bio-Rad will have access to a comprehensive catalog of antibodies allowing us to better serve our customers by offering total assay solutions that can be validated on our research platforms for western blotting, multiplex protein expression, ELISA, and cell sorting,” Brad Crutchfield, president of Bio-Rad’s Life Science Group., said in a statement. “In addition, we will be able to exploit a powerful in vitro technology to accelerate future antibody generation.”

The acquisition is the second in 14 months for Bio-Rad, a $2 billion-a-year publicly-traded company headquartered in Hercules, CA. The company agreed to shell out $162 million, plus undisclosed milestone payments, in October 2011 for QuantaLife, the developer of a digital quantitative PCR system called Droplet Digital™

Last month, Bio-Rad said sales of its QX100™ Droplet Digital™ PCR system were, along with its process chromatography media, examples of product lines whose strong North American sales offset slowing sales in Europe and Japan to account for a 2.2% increase in its Life Sciences segment sales of $167 million on a currency-neutral basis; sales dipped 2.6% when year-to-year currency fluctuations were accounted for.

MorphoSys CEO Simon E. Moroney, Ph.D., said in a statement issued by his company that it sold Serotec as part of an increased corporate focus on therapeutics.

On Nov. 27, for example, MorphoSys said it would collaborate with Dutch-owned Lanthio Pharma to develop a new class of therapeutic peptides called lantipeptides, which the companies said enjoy high target selectivity and improved drug-like properties. MorphoSys agreed to take a minority stake in Lanthio, as well as make an undisclosed equity investment in Lanthio as part of its Series A financing round.

“We are making great progress in our therapeutic antibody pipeline, which is a huge potential value driver for MorphoSys,” Dr. Moroney said. “With the sale of AbD Serotec, we will bring a laser-like focus to driving growth in this, our area of core competence.” 

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