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Two heads are better than one
August 2011
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


TEDDINGTON, U.K.—Looking to create "a market-leading genomic services and solutions provider," LGC Ltd., global company focused on analytical, diagnostic and forensic services and reference standards, acquired KBioscience Ltd. at the beginning of July.  
According to LGC, the acquisition of KBioscience, "with its unique expertise in genotyping services, chemistries and related products," extends and complements the genomic services and products supplied through LGC's Genomics Division.
Reportedly, the founders of KBioscience remain partners and significant shareholders in the enlarged business alongside LGC, and the established national and international reputations of the combined companies is expected to further LGC Genomics' aim to become Europe's leading provider of genomic services and related products. LGC's products and services in DNA sequencing and extraction are said to be "fully complementary to the systems and services developed by KBioscience." According to LGC, the combined business benefits from a significant shared customer base and will use the knowledge and skills of the LGC and KBioscience teams to deliver a comprehensive set of genomics services and products now, as well as enable future innovations.
"I am very excited at the opportunities that our acquisition by LGC holds," said Phil Robinson, managing director of KBioscience and one of its the three founding partners, in the official announcement about the deal. "The combination of LGC's well-known qualities and KBioscience's knowledge, expertise and innovation skills will open a range of market opportunities in Europe, North America and Asia, accelerating our development in the genomics market."
"The enhanced LGC genomics service and products will deliver real benefits to our customers in research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and clinical markets," added David Richardson, CEO of LGC, in the official statement. "LGC is determined to take the lead in providing quality and outstanding customer service in these important areas of science."
John McQuillian, managing director of LGC Genomics, tells ddn that the genesis for the deal largely arose from the fact that KBioscience has shown excellent growth since it was formed in 2002 and the acquisition "both adds a genotyping offering to our sequencing services and also recognizes the great potential for future growth that can be derived from combining the operations of KBioscience and LGC Genomics."
The companies were well-aware of each other already and have been for some years, he notes, given that they share a number of important customers and have "collaborated where mutually beneficial" on joint projects, as well as cross-referencing their customers to products and services of the other company.

As for why this is the right time to become a single entity, McQuillian says that as part of a larger group "where its growth can be supported and the professional development of important functions can be resourced, KBioscience's potential can now be realized. A key benefit of the business combination is that the founding leaders of KBioscience will be able to devote their energies to constantly innovating to create the unassailable long-term position that the world's best businesses enjoy."
Although global business opportunity in the market for services providers in Europe is quite fragmented, McQuillian admits, he believes that building scale through a combined business will help "do an even better job for our joint business."

"LGC Genomics and KBioscience share many customers and this new alliance means that our customers will benefit from having one contact instead of two," he concludes. "Many of the existing customers of both sides will be able to buy more from us and they will see a great deal more of our combined presence in the form of personal selling and significant marketing and  promotion, as well as a greater pace of innovation."  
LGC employs more than 1,460 people in its role as a developer of new methods and standards in biotechnology and analytical measurement.  
Set up in 2002 to exploit the use of laser welding as a service-based science company in the SNP genotyping market, KBioscience has developed its own range of SNP genotyping chemistry and novel instrumentation since then. With 60 staff based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and a small U.S. team in Beverly, Mass., the company processes more than 1 million data points per day and has some 500,000 validated KASP assays in stock. KBioscience has four separate divisions—laboratory services, reagents & consumables, instrumentation and software—and notable products include KASP SNP genotyping chemistry, the Fusion laser plate sealer, water-bath based thermal cycler and the Kleargene range of DNA purification chemistries. All of the products are supported by the internally developed laboratory information management system called KRACKEN.
Code: E081119



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