From zero to $250m: Agilent aims to dominate cell analysis space

With potentially three acquisitions within nine months, Agilent Technologies has rapidly grown its presence in the cell analysis space and says it aspires to grow further.

Technology and services firm Agilent entered the bioanalysis space in 2015 when it acquired manufacturer of instruments and assay kits Seahorse Bioscience.

Over the past nine months, Agilent has upped its position in the sector through the purchase of ACEA Biosciences, swiftly followed by the acquisition of Luxcel Biosciences , and just last month the firm agreed to pay $1.165 billion (€1 billion) for BioTek Instruments, bolstering its portfolio further with cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators and stackers.

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Year-to-date and including the as yet unclosed BioTek deal, Agilent has deployed over $2.2 billion in capital this year, with $1.4 billion spent to expand its cell analysis franchise, and according to management focus in the sector will not abate.

“We are really bullish on this space,” CEO Mike McMullen said in a conference call discussing Q3 results. “We think we have a lot of really good scale once we close with the BioTek acquisition, but that being said, I think we have further aspirations to continue to build-out in that space as well.”

With BioTek on board, he said the business will generate $250 million per year (“up from zero four years ago”) and is growing at double digits.

“I’m very excited by the significant step forward in strengthening our leadership position in the fast-growing cell analysis space.”

President of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Applied Markets Group (LSAG) Jacob Thaysen gave more detail:

“The strategy we started out some years ago, four years ago now, was not just to build scale in the cell analysis business but build differentiated components that could build together into workflows that would really provide differentiating information for our customers,” he told stakeholders.

He added the main priority now is to integrate BioTek with its other acquisitions to offer clients a differentiated offering.

“Combining the Seahorse, ACEA, the BioTek and Luxcel together, I think we have a really, really strong differentiated position, but it also allows us to add more workflows into that space going forward.”