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Partners in proteomics
LIÈGE, Belgium—In a move to expand its proteomics and geographic footprint, Belgian biotechnology firm Eurogentec SA recently announced an agreement to purchase antibody company AnaSpec Inc., a privately-held proteomics company based in Fremont, Calif.
Founded in 1993, AnaSpec is a leading provider of integrated proteomics solutions for life science research and diagnostics with expertise in peptides synthesis, labeled peptides and antibodies, fluorescent dyes and enzyme activity assays. The company has developed one of the world's largest collections of catalog and dye-labeled peptides in the fields of Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis and enzyme inhibitor screening.
"Bringing AnaSpec into the Eurogentec group is a strategic decision for our company," Jean-Pierre Delwart, CEO of Eurogentec, says in a statement. "Through this acquisition, Eurogentec becomes a leading integrated solution provider for the life science and diagnostics sectors. Our combined expertise enables Eurogentec to provide innovative solutions in the fields of genomics and proteomics for basic research in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as applied solutions in the diagnostics sector."
According to Albert Olson Hong, AnaSpec's business development specialist, Eurogentec serves client base similar to AnaSpec in terms of biotech, pharma, diagnostic and academic research institutions.
"At the same time, while AnaSpec has focused primarily on proteomics-related technologies such as peptides and antibodies, Eurogentec has developed a significant catalog of genomics-based products," he says. "The combination of these two core competencies allows AnaSpec and Eurogentec to provide a greater breadth of products and services for our research customers."
Leveraging its expertise in peptide, antibodies and fluorescent dyes, AnaSpec has established a portfolio of integrated proteomics solutions such as FRET-based assays and SensoLyte assays for basic research, high-throughput screening and drug discovery. Further, AnaSpec's proprietary fluorescent dyes are being used by the world's leading diagnostic companies to enhance their diagnostic solutions.
Delwart adds that the HiLyte Fluor dyes and QXL quenchers that are part of AnaSpec's high-performance detection assays will be integrated into Eurogentec's comprehensive portfolio of oligonucleotides.
"This will establish a license-friendly alternative to most dye-labeled oligonucleotides from competitors for commercial and diagnostic applications," he notes. "Moreover, AnaSpec considerably strengthens Eurogentec's geographical presence in the U.S. and Eurogentec will directly market and support AnaSpec's products in the EU."
Among Eurogentec's offerings are antibodies, proteins and peptides; to date, its profile in proteomics has been minor. The purchase of AnaSpec could change that tide, says Delwart. With many drug companies focusing their efforts on biologics, Delwart points out that the future of new drug development will be in proteins, and new proteomics tools and methods will be needed for that.
"People need to analyze proteins, and proteomics tools have a bright future," he adds. "That's why we intend to develop Eurogentec more in the proteomics field."
Hong points out that AnaSpec had been experiencing consistent growth prior to its merger with Eurogentec.
"AnaSpec will continue to leverage its proprietary technologies to launch new peptides, dyes, assay kits, and antibodies," he points out. "The integration of AnaSpec and Eurogentec provides AnaSpec with new opportunities for technological innovation, a larger sales force, and increased exposure to European markets."
The AnaSpec deal also gives Eurogentec increased access to the U.S. market, where about half of total life science sales worldwide are generated, Delwart points out.
Hong adds that the acquisition creates an entity with expertise in a broader spectrum of technologies and therefore a wider selection of products and services for both Eurogentec and AnaSpec customers.
"We expect that this will translate into increased innovation through integration of AnaSpec's patented HiLyte Fluor dyes with Eurogentec genomics products, mainly for diagnostic use," he notes. "We are excited about the expanded customer base for both companies and an increasingly global presence for both companies. For Eurogentec this means greater penetration into the North American markets and for AnaSpec this means greater expansion into European markets."
Hong says officials expect that the merger will have a positive impact on both companies.
"We will have succeeded if both Eurogentec and AnaSpec customers feel that they are well-served by a wider range of products for both proteomics and genomics research and that they have increased access to sales representatives," he concludes. "As we leverage our technologies, we will have succeeded if we are able to create innovative new solutions that advance the research of our customers."
The founders of AnaSpec, Anita Hong, president, and Frank Hong, CEO, commented that "it is important for the sustained development of AnaSpec to integrate into a larger organization, where its current assets and competencies can bring real added value. The total complementarities between Eurogentec's and AnaSpec's existing businesses and the cross-fertilization opportunities for future developments are a key factor for the success of this partnership. We are very much looking forward to closely working with the Eurogentec team from this perspective."
Anita and Frank Hong will remain aboard the company in leading roles in continuing to grow AnaSpec's businesses, further expanding the high-value detection reagents focus and facilitating integration with Eurogentec. Eurogentec intends to maintain the company's state-of-the-art Fremont facility and its employees.