Brooks Automation steps further into the life sciences through its recent acquisition of Genewiz

Emerging Technologies
September 30, 2018

What happens when a global leader in R&D genomics services and the leading provider of innovative and comprehensive sample lifecycle management solutions get together? The world is about to find out.Genewiz, a privately held company based out of South Plainfield, New Jersey, was just acquired by Brooks Automation, Inc. in a $450 million cash deal. The acquisition, a key milestone for Brooks as it expands its reach into the life sciences, is expected to be closed by the end of the year. The potential implications for such a union are monumentous.

Transitioning from semiconductors to the life sciences

Brooks Automation was founded in 1978, and provides automation, vacuum, and instrumentation equipment for multiple markets. Historically, Brooks has made its mark in semiconductors, developing a suite of semiconductor automation products. But in 2011, the company began placing more focus on the life sciences. Brooks has made its mark on the life sciences industry through its state of the art cryopreservation systems and global sample preparation and analytics services. Their automated storage systems have facilitated biorepository and biobanking, pre-clinical and clinical sample storage, and cell therapy cryopreservation.But Brooks is ready to have an even bigger impact in the life sciences industry. It seems a natural move to acquire the global leader in R&D genomics services.The acquisition of Genewiz represents the largest life sciences acquisition Brooks has made to date, and solidifies the company’s role as a growing leader in the life sciences industry.

Becoming a global leader in R&D genomics services

Genewiz, founded in 1999, has quickly grown, making it to Forbes magazines list of the 5000 fastest growing privately held companies (based on the percentage growth of annual revenue). Today, the company has over 4000 customers worldwide from leading pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic institutions, who are served by laboratories in the U.S., U.K., China, Japan, and Germany. Genewiz provides a wide range of services to its customers, including CLIA certified Sanger DNA sequencing, gene synthesis, molecular biology, high throughput/next generation sequencing (including sequencing of mixed PCR products), bioinformatics, and GLP regulatory services.The company also emphasizes top-tier technical support, which is included for its customers at no extra charge. Their data quality and technical support enable the Genewiz team to achieve their self-stated mission: to contribute to the advancement of life sciences and technologies by making research more productive and cost efficient through their scalable services. Access to the established customer base that Brooks brings to the table will enable Genewiz to expand its reach and continue to meet this goal.

A mutually beneficial arrangement

Both companies are excited about what this acquisition means for the future of both Brooks and Genewiz.Brooks president and CEO Steve Schwartz emphasized in a press release statement that this is more than just a business move, commenting that “Genewiz will add a new and innovative platform which we expect to leverage … to add even more value to samples under our care.”Genewiz co-founder and CEO, Amy Liao, who will continue to lead Genewiz after the acquisition is finalized, says that she and 1,000 other Genewiz employees “look forward to developing this exciting new chapter of growth together as part of the Brooks team.”

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