Beckman Coulter sets sail with Blue Ocean
BREA, Calif.—Beckman Coulter Life Sciences has announced the acquisition of Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based Blue Ocean Biomedical LLC. A manufacturer of automated flow cytometry systems and reagents, privately held Blue Ocean brings to Beckman Coulter a variety of low-complexity analyzers for automated sample preparation and a library of reagents. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“This acquisition provides both immediate opportunity and long-term value,” Scott Atkin, president of Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, said in a press release. “The simplification of customer workflows will be dramatic. We’ll be able to offer customers an extended line of market-leading technology while expanding our reach within a key segment for flow cytometry.”
Blue Ocean’s products represent the only “sample in, result out” (SIRO) solution for clinical flow cytometry. The company opened a new manufacturing facility in Miramar, Fla. in June 2010 for its CR series load & go Immune Monitoring Systems, and became ISO-certified for flow cytometry manufacturing in February of last year. Its load-and-go systems perform immune monitoring and related tasks, and the CR Series Automated Cytometry Systems offer a combination of automated sample preparation and analysis. Blue Ocean’s LG Series Flow Cytometry Systems, its fully automated, load-and-go systems for counting CD4 cells and other subsets of lymphocytes (including percent and absolute counts of T cells, B cells and NK cells), were introduced in July 2011 at the International AIDS Society conference.
“Our team has developed a line of truly unique instrument systems: essentially, the world’s first load-and-go flow cytometers,” Mike Brochu, CEO and co-founder of Blue Ocean, said in a press release. “With its history of leadership and innovation in this field, Beckman Coulter has all the resources and technology needed to build on this platform and future systems for years to come.”
Blue Ocean could not be reached for additional comment.
“Blue Ocean Biomedical was the first company to develop a true ‘sample in, result out’ solution for flow cytometric applications, and we feel the biggest gains will be for our customers that are looking for a product that requires a minimum amount of training and close to no hands-on time, while providing fast and accurate results in a highly standardized fashion,” says Mario Koksch, director of product management and strategy at Beckman Coulter Life Sciences. “Around the globe, skilled labor in laboratories is increasingly difficult to obtain, and Blue Ocean Biomedical’s load-and-go technology frees up time, allowing laboratory personnel to focus on more demanding and complex tasks.”
The acquisition adds to Beckman Coulter’s own flow cytometry portfolio—which includes a variety of products and services such as flow cytometers, support reagents, cell-signaling reagents, centrifuges and multi-color reagents for antibodies to both human antigens and non-human antigens, among others—and gains the company a larger footprint in a growing market.
According to a 2011 report from BCC Research, the global market for flow cytometry products reached $2.6 billion in 2010, and is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2015, thanks to a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent.
Koksch says Beckman Coulter “welcomes Blue Ocean Biomedical’s employees among its associates and will integrate the additional expertise gained through the acquisition,” noting that the company’s options in terms of Blue Ocean’s facilities “are currently being evaluated.”
“The acquisition of Blue Ocean Biomedical provides Beckman Coulter Life Sciences’ instrument portfolio with a low-complexity cytometry solution, thus enlarging the addressable market in both mature and emerging markets,” he says. “Initially, there will be growth in the area of HIV monitoring, but our partnership also gives us the opportunity to expand into other applications where a high degree of standardization and automation is desirable.”