US-based life science and high technology company Sigma-Aldrich is extending its reach vertically through the drug discovery and development process by agreeing to acquire biopharmaceutical testing services specialist BioReliance Holdings from Avista Capital Partners for US$350 million in cash.

BioReliance, which turned in revenues of around US$110 million in the year ended 31 December 2010, with double-digit growth expected in 2011, provides services including biologics, specialised toxicology and animal health testing to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and other life science customers worldwide.

Combining these services with Sigma-Aldrich’s existing offering, which encompasses biochemical and organic chemical products and kits used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, disease diagnosis, and pharmaceutical and other high-technology manufacturing settings, is expected to give Sigma-Aldrich “a broader and richer value proposition”.

It will also have an “immediate impact” on the company’s ability to provide enhanced solutions for its biopharmaceutical customers”, Sigma-Aldrich said. Those customers, it added, will now be able to work “with a single point provider that is more vertically integrated throughout the drug discovery process”.

Modestly accretive

Slated to close in the first quarter of 2012, the acquisition should be “modestly” accretive to Sigma-Aldrich's diluted earnings per share this year, while enhancing the company’s “already strong” free cash flow, the company believes.

BioReliance has its headquarters in Rockville, US, with additional operations in Glasgow and Stirling, Scotland and sales offices in Tokyo (Japan) and Bangalore (India). The company employs more than 650 people worldwide.

According to president and chief executive officer (CEO) Rakesh Sachdev, the vision for Sigma-Aldrich is “to enhance our company’s broad product offering and strong technology platforms with a compelling and specialised services platform”.

Every step

Adding in BioReliance’s quality assurance and quality control testing services “enables us to support customers’ needs to determine the quality and integrity of biological drugs at every step of the development and manufacturing process”, Sachdev added.  

Charles Harwood, president and CEO of BioReliance, said the deal created “one of the broadest product and service offerings for the development and manufacture of biological drugs”.

Moreover, BioReliance’s Specialized Toxicology and Animal Health Services segments would complement other Sigma-Aldrich product and technology areas, he noted.