Eurofins boosts genetic testing footprint

Picture: iStock

Eurofins Scientific is to acquire GATC Biotech AG (GATC) for an undisclosed price.

The transaction is expected to be completed in July subject to customary closing conditions.

GATC Biotech, a family owned business since 1990, is a European sequencing services provider with more than 10,000 customers from academia, industry and healthcare.

The firm was acquired from the privately owned company Pohl Erben GmbH & Co. KG.

Example projects in food and beverage

GATC told us it processes all kinds of starting material, including food and beverage.

“A few examples include projects to investigate the bacterial composition of dairy products like cheese and yogurt,” said the firm.

“We’ve also sequenced fruits and vegetables, such as peach trees, potato and corn plants. We’ve also looked into the genomic material found in beer and we’ve investigated wheat plants.

“We are often not aware of the reason why a customer is sequencing certain samples or the motives behind their project. It is difficult for us to comment on whether customers are sequencing food samples out of curiosity, improving food production processes or for quality control.”

Peter Pohl, CEO and co-founder of GATC, said: “We are excited to be joining the Eurofins family of laboratories and look forward to the next phase of our development within the group.

“We are confident that with access to Eurofins’ global network and technical competencies, we should be able to expand our analytical portfolio and services to benefit all our existing and future clients.”

From Sanger to next-generation sequencing, GATC offers genomics such as transcriptome, epigenome, exome or whole genome analysis and bioinformatics.

GATC has built a positive reputation around turn-around time (TAT), referring to the speed of sequencing services.

“With some of our Sanger sequencing services, customers can drop off a sample in the evening and gain access to their results between 8 and 11am the following day,” said the firm.

“Some of our next-generation sequencing projects have delivery times of one week or less, which is extremely fast for industry standards. Services like exome sequencing and sequencing of ready-to-load libraries are performed especially quickly in our laboratories.”

Market position

The company said it was the first to offer a 24 hour sequencing service in 1995 and four years later it had the first ever online ordering system for the life sciences.

GATC said it became the first next-generation sequencing service provider in Europe in 2005 and two years later it introduced the world’s first overnight sequencing service.

The company employs 140 staff across two sites, and serves over 10,000 institutional and academic customers, generating annual revenues of about €20m.

Eurofins said as the deal had not yet closed it could not comment on whether the sites and employees would be retained.

The acquisition should reinforce the firm's footprint in DNA sequencing and strengthen its technological platform supporting genetic testing.

Dr Gilles Martin, Eurofins CEO, said: “This transaction is a demonstration of Eurofins' commitment to genomics services. We believe that advances in gene sequencing will continue to drive innovations not only in clinical diagnostics, but in the broader bioanalytical testing market as well."

Eurofins had previously acquired Nab Labs Group Oy, one of the largest independent environment testing laboratories in Finland.

Nab Labs provides a range of environmental research and testing services with a competence in industrial process analytics and forestry sectors.

The company employs over 100 staff and generates annual revenues in excess of €9m.

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