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Malvern moves for microcalorimeter tech in pharma-focused acquisition

By Gareth MacDonald+

10-Jun-2014
Last updated on 10-Jun-2014 at 17:05 GMT

Malvern Instruments will buy GE Healthcare’s MicroCal business in a deal that adds protein analysis and formulation development tech to its expanding drug industry offering.

The acquisition – terms of which were not disclosed – marks Malvern’s entry into the microcalorimeter market and is part of the “Bioscience Development Initiative” the firm launched in 2012 according to spokesman David Higgs.

The addition of MicroCal instruments will have an immediate impact on Malvern’s ability to provide a complete range of instrumentation solutions and support across life science research and development.

He also told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “Microcalorimetry is a universal technique that has particular application in drug discovery and development involving proteins and other biomolecules, and is used at almost every stage of the process.”

Higgs explained that microcalorimeters provide detailed information on the structure, function and binding properties of a wide range of biomolecules such as proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and antibodies, which he said is an area of increasing demand.

A current emphasis on structure-based drug design and rapid advances in biopharmaceutical development are driving an increase in the use of microcalorimetry as a standard technique in biopharmaceutical research.”

MicroCal has bases in the US, Europe and Asia and – according to Higgs – the majority of the unit’s workforce is expected to join Malvern.

Around 56 people will be involved in the move from GE Healthcare to Malvern Instruments, of whom 43 are at the Northampton MA site which Malvern will acquire, and the remainder based around Europe, China, Japan and the US.”

The deal, which is expected to complete before the end of the year, is set Malvern’s second drug industry-focused acquisition in the last two years behind nanoparticle analysis organisation, Nanosight.

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