Supply size matters

Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems will merge to create a major biotech tool provider. Invitrogen is paying $6.7 billion in cash and stock to buy Foster City, California–based Applied Biosystems. The new company will retain the Applied Biosystems name but have its headquarters at the Invitrogen site in Carlsbad, California. The combined company will provide consumers with a range of biotech tools, estimating $3.5 billion in annual sales of reagents and systems for genetic analysis, cell biology and proteomics. William Quirk, senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, says the acquisition will bring together Applied Biosystems' systems business with Invitrogen's portfolio of consumables, allowing customers to benefit from economies of scale and a wider range of products and services. Market observers point to a trend for suppliers to grow in size to offer biotech customers the ease of a 'one-stop shop' rather than just reagents. Applied Biosystems makes instruments such as mass spectrometers and DNA sequencers whereas Invitrogen has 35,000 products and services including cell lines, culture media and fluorescent markers. The new company is expected to generate more than 70% of its revenue from consumables and own more than 3,600 patents and licenses. It will join other giant suppliers like Waltham, Massachusetts–based Thermo Fisher Scientific (which recently acquired RNA interference company Open Systems) and Sigma Aldrich.


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Aldridge, S. Supply size matters. Nat Biotechnol 26, 847 (2008).

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