Cambridge meets Cambridge in £18m Biotech Acquisition

Cambridge meets Cambridge in £18m Biotech Acquisition


Firefly branded boxes and vialsAbcam is paying £18.5 million cash to add biomarker detection capabilities to its business as it looks to expand its traditional offering of supplying proteins.

Firefly BioWorks, which has 15 employees based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has developed a novel multiplex assay platform for the detection of biomarkers, based on a microfabrication technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Its first product is for the detection of microRNAs (miRNAs), which Abcam says fits well with the strategy it outlined in September last year to establish new growth platforms and supports its wider ‘mission’ of enabling “scientists to discover more.”

The move into helping identify proteins and not just supplying them carries extra significance as this strategic expansion is happening under the stewardship of Alan Hirzel, the successor to Abcam’s hugely successful founding CEO, Dr Jonathan Milner.

“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,” said Hirzel. “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.”