Instrumental deal: Agilent to bolster cell analysis biz with BioTek buy

Agilent Technologies’ $1.165 billion acquisition of cell analysis firm BioTek Instruments will bring increased exposure to biopharma end markets, according to an analyst.

Life sciences technology and services firm Agilent has agreed to pay $1.165 billion (€1 billion) for BioTek Instruments, adding numerous cell analysis tools to its portfolio. These include cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators and stackers, all used in the analysis and quantification of biomolecules and cell therapies.

“[BioTek] positions Agilent well in the large and growing immuno-oncology and immunotherapy markets and expands our presence in biopharma, academia and research as customers seek to understand complex cellular environments and interaction,” Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Applied Markets Group, said.

Image: iStock/JVisentin

Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken described the deal as “sensible” and a “strategic fit” within Agilent’s cell analysis business.

“BioTek also brings increased exposure to biopharma end markets (highly attractive immunology drug discovery – need to use cell analysis & imaging techniques to see if immune-oncolgy drugs and monoclonal antibodies are binding to cells),” he said in a note.

The deal is the latest example of Aligent’s ambition in the sector, which has been growing since the firm entered the space through the acquisition of bioanalysis firm Seahorse Bioscience in 2015.

Agilent has further expanded its presence in cell analysis through M&A, with the acquisitions of Luxcel Biosciences in January 2018 and ACEA Biosciences in November 2018.

According to Muken, BioTek is likely to be operated as a standalone entity and will help “offset some of the headwinds facing other aspects of Agilent’s business during a time of volatility and… sets up a strong growth trajectory for a budding core business over the next 2-3 years.”

In 2018, BioTek reported revenues of $162 million, and according to the firm is expected to grow approximately 10% in 2019.

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