Lab21 acquires Biotec Laboratories -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Lab21 Limited

Lab21 acquires Biotec Laboratories

Expands microbiology product offering in infectious diseases and broadens global distribution network -

Cambridge, UK, 3rd March 2009 … Lab21 Ltd has today announced that it has purchased the majority shareholding of Biotec Laboratories Ltd, a clinical diagnostic company with particular emphasis on infectious diseases, most notably tuberculosis (TB). As part of the sale, Lab21 also acquires Biotec’s South African subsidiary, Biotec Laboratories SA which is a joint venture with the Cape Biotech Trust.

Commenting on the acquisition, Graham Mullis, CEO of Lab21 said, “Our goal is to grow Lab21 into a major international diagnostics business through both organic growth and acquisition – this transaction is an important step in that process. Our combined businesses, which have very complementary products, provide a great platform from which to build further our infectious disease and immunodiagnostic portfolio.”

Biotec Laboratories, based in Ipswich, UK was established in 1993 and has developed a portfolio of diagnostic products with a particular focus on infectious diseases. The two companies have had an ongoing commercial relationship, with Biotec Laboratories distributing some of Lab21 diagnostic products through its established global network of distributors in 80 countries worldwide. This will strengthen the Lab21 global reach, in particular in Africa and South America and will allow it to immediately access new markets for its products. Biotec Laboratories SA, based in Johannesburg, South Africa has developed proprietary phage amplification technology that is being used to develop rapid diagnostic and susceptibility tests for both active and Drug Resistant TB.

Dr Berwyn Clarke, Chief Scientific Development Officer of Lab21 added, “We look forward to working with the R&D team of Biotec and exploring how its phage amplification technology can be used for the detection of other mycobacterium borne diseases, beyond TB. The combination of our technical and clinical skills, and sector experience creates a very strong R&D group that can fuel significant new product development in both immunodiagnostics and molecular diagnostics over the coming years.”

Peter Ellis, CEO of Biotec Laboratories Ltd said, “In order to be internationally competitive, the UK’s Diagnostics sector has long needed consolidation and we are delighted with the sale of our business to Lab21 to help create a global leader in diagnostics and are convinced that the Biotec team can play a significant role in Lab21’s future expansion plans and success.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction takes immediate effect. For the immediate future, Biotec Laboratories will continue to trade as a subsidiary of Lab21 group.

Notes for Editors:

For further information please contact:

College Hill
Tony Stephenson
Rebecca Walker
Sue Charles
t : +44 (0) 20 7866 7864

At Lab21:
Graham Mullis, CEO
Maddy Kennedy, CFO
Tel: +44 (0)1223 395450
Email: or

At Biotec Laboratories:
Peter Ellis, CEO
t: +44 (0) 2076215770
m: +44 (0) 7785500384

About Lab21 -
Lab21 is a global provider of state-of-the-art diagnostic products and services, supporting drug discovery and healthcare. Its customers include healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The Company has a growing test portfolio providing companion diagnostics and high technology assays for the growing integration of personalised medicine into healthcare. These services and products are currently in infectious diseases, oncology and pharmacogenetics areas with emerging interests in cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Lab21's clinical reference laboratory and corporate office is based in Cambridge, UK. The Company's investors include Merlin Biosciences, Nexus Medical Partners, Rowan Dartington and Kreos Capital.

About Biotec Laboratories –

Biotec Laboratories is a rapid diagnostics business, engaged in the production and worldwide distribution of quality reagents, test kits and dehydrated culture media. Its research and development is focused on new and innovative technologies in the field of rapid amplification of bacteria, with particular emphasis on the detection of tuberculosis.

A number of ‘old’ diseases have re-emerged as significant threats to world health, driven by factors such as population migration and the immune weakening effect of HIV. These are particularly the reasons for the increase in the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) infection, a highly contagious disease. According to statistics published by World Health Organization (WHO), 8.8 million active cases of tuberculosis (TB) are diagnosed each year and of these patients, almost 2 million die, or 5,000 every day. The disease is endemic in 22 of the world’s poorest countries, but no region is free from the threat and infection levels are rising in Western Europe and the US.

The company sells a comprehensive range of diagnostic reagents, test kits and culture media to customers in over 80 countries worldwide through a network of distributors and agents. It is focused on growth through broadening its geographical market coverage and by continuous improvement and enhancement to its world-class products.