Millipore, a provider of tools and equipment for the life-sciences and biotech industry, is taking advantage of its healthy balance sheet and downturn in the market by acquiring privately held biotech and medical-device company Guava Technologies.
The Billerica, Mass.-based company, which focuses half its business on life-sciences and the other half on biopharmaceutical manufacturing, will acquire Calif.-based Guava for $22.6 million, the company announced Monday.
Millipore, which has 6,000 employees, is acquiring Guava to tap into the company's expertise in cell analysis. Guava developed the first commercial micro capillary flow cytometry system, which allows scientists to perform flow cytometry using small instruments. Flow cytometry is a technique used by researchers to measure protein expression changes in individual cells.
"Our vision is to make flow cytometry less expensive, easier to use, and more accessible for all research scientists," said Jonathan DiVincenzo, president of Millipore's bioscience division. "Additionally, by developing kits that are optimized for key research areas such as stem-cell research, cancer biology, cell health, and biomarker discovery, scientists will no longer need to source reagents and develop their own assays."
"Today's acquisition is predominantly targeted around the life-sciences research business," said Joshua Young, Millipore's director of investor relations. "A few years ago Millipore was primarily focused on providing consumer products across a variety of applications, and today's announcement is really helping us to go deeper into one of those areas we are focused on -- cell biology."
Prime Time to Buy
Guava is bringing a number of different capabilities that Millipore doesn't currently have, including bioinformatics and cell biology, and Millipore plans to build on that by increasing its efforts in , and research development, according to Young.
With a healthy balance sheet, $1.6 billion in revenue and a fair amount of cash flow, Millipore is well positioned to make strategic acquisitions.
"There are a number of opportunities, albeit many of them are smaller, of acquiring companies with good positions and with attractive valuation," Young said. "Overall, that is far less than what the market would have afforded a couple of years ago."
Millipore is expected to continue to operate Guava's manufacturing site in Hayward, Calif.
Building on History
The move to acquire Guava comes after the companies agreed to collaborate with each other.
In March 2008, Guava and Millipore teamed up to provide flow cytometry systems to scientists conducting research in cell biology. Millipore, under the agreement with Guava, had exclusive rights to distribute Guava's nonclinical instruments in North America, Europe and countries in Asia. The two also developed cobranded reagent kits for Guava's flow cytometers.
As a result of the partnership, Millipore has been offering several assays to be used with Guava's cell-analysis systems that would enable scientists researching cancer, stem cells, and immune functions to conduct cell analysis.