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CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corp. has acquired BAC BV, a privately held company based in the Netherlands that Life views as a leader in the discovery, development and manufacture of protein purification products. The acquisition expands Life's capabilities and product offerings in the growing market of biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The tuck-in acquisition of BAC is expected to be neutral to the company's overall return on invested capital three years after close.
"The acquisition of BAC helps accelerate the growth of Life's BioProduction business, specifically purification, and positions Life Technologies as a leading provider of end-to-end solutions that are widely utilized in the bioprocess workflow," says Tony Hunt, head of bioproduction at Life. "BAC is known as the 'affinity expert' and the leader in the development and production of protein purification products. We recognized the value of bringing BAC into the Life portfolio. With their unique set of innovative and proprietary affinity ligands and Life's world-class POROS resins, we are confident that our integrated portfolio will uniquely address the market's unmet needs and expand our reach into existing and new segments. Combining BAC's current portfolio and pipeline with our pre-existing portfolio expands Life's product offering and enables us to compete more fully across the protein purification market. We intend to immediately integrate the portfolios and leverage the Life commercial platform to drive accelerated growth in this market."
Bioprocessing is the production and analytical testing of biologically based therapeutics, which are developed in cultured cells or microorganisms, and include drugs, vaccines, biosimilars and gene and cell therapies. Life's Gibco brand is the market leader in cell culture media, a position it has held for 50 years, and the company more recently integrated its POROS brand of chromatography resins for purification of therapeutic products into its Bioproduction portfolio.
The acquisition expands Life's existing portfolio by adding BAC's proprietary affinity ligands to the company's POROS resins. As the name implies, affinity ligands are molecules capable of binding with very high affinity to specific proteins, and are typically attached to chromatography resins in a production-scale, biopurification process. The purification of biotherapeutic proteins involves linking multiple filtration and chromatography steps together, with each step providing a higher level of purity, Hunt explains.
"Most commonly, three chromatography-based protein purification steps are used," he says. "The first step is called capture chromatography. Here, affinity chromatography is routinely used. In this step, an affinity tag that is specific for the protein of interest is used. It is a highly selective step, and the backbone of the purification process. The second and third steps are both polish chromatography steps, responsible for removing trace levels of impurities. The technology strength of Life Technologies centers on high-performance, ion-exchange chromatography resins for polish chromatography. BAC specializes in the development and commercialization of novel affinity ligands. Together, Life Technologies and BAC can now develop novel affinity chromatography resins and provide high-performance chromatography products for the entire bioprocessing workflow."
"We are looking forward to developing and providing unique, enabling products from our combined portfolios and capabilities to our purification customers," says Dr. Laurens Sierkstra, CEO of BAC.
Sierkstra and an additional 34 employees will join Life Technologies. Current BAC facilities, a manufacturing site in Naarden and R&D facility in Leiden, Netherlands, will remain in operation.