Abcam plc has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Firefly BioWorks Inc ("Firefly") on a cash-free/debt-free basis for £18.5m ($28.0m). The consideration, which is payable in cash on completion, will be funded from Abcam's existing resources.
Firefly has developed a novel multiplex assay platform for the detection of biomarkers, based on a microfabrication technology developed by the founders at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has developed its first product for detection of microRNAs (miRNAs). Firefly has 15 employees and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Acquisition fits well with Abcam's strategy outlined in September to establish new growth platforms and supports the Company's mission to enable scientists to discover more. Firefly will strengthen Abcam's fast growing Kits and Assays business by adding an IP-protected, multiplex assay capability. miRNA is one of the fastest growing areas of biomarker and scientific research and this type of nucleic acid detection and measurement is rapidly growing in importance to Abcam's life science consumers. Abcam and Firefly also see further potential to combine Abcam's proprietary RabMAb® technology with Firefly's assay capability to provide multiplex protein measurement.
After an initial period of modest investment, Firefly is expected to generate attractive returns in the longer term.
The Acquisition is expected to close by the end of this month.
Alan Hirzel, CEO of Abcam commented: "The acquisition of Firefly represents a compelling strategic fit for Abcam, expanding our Kits and Assays business into the new areas where life science researchers tell us they have the greatest needs. RNA is one of the hottest areas in science for our consumers and we are excited about the scientific and commercial potential in what is a new product area for Abcam. We are also delighted to be working with our new colleagues at Firefly to offer researchers access to a novel technology that will enable them to assess the role of miRNA in a broad range of areas including epigenetics and cancer biomarker discovery, as well as generally across biological research. We also look forward to combining it with our RabMAb technology to bring new products to market over the forthcoming years."
Davide Marini, CEO of Firefly commented: "Firefly was founded upon the vision of integrating bioinformatics with intelligent assays and has great cultural similarities with Abcam. Our combined companies have a tremendous opportunity to develop novel assay products which will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery."