Sigma-Aldrich plans to grow its new biologics toxicology services unit by creating targeted cell lines and animal models.
Creation of the targeted tests will combine Sigma-Aldrich technologies with the BioReliance business it bought for $350m (€260m) earlier this year. Sigma-Aldrich is particularly interested in improving toxicology services at BioReliance through application of its zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology.
“We may do a little more there because I think we have some good opportunities to use targeted cell lines, and targeted animal models, to create a real differentiated service offering vis-à-vis other suppliers”, Rakesh Sachdev, CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, said at a review of its outlook and plans for 2012.
Sachdev wants targeted tests to further separate BioReliance from the “plain vanilla game” and build on its strength in gene toxicology and transgenic studies for oncogenicity. Use of ZFN technology is part of this strategy.
“This technology is really about editing the genome of a living cell or animal. I know it sounds Frankenstein, but you can…make new models in cells and animals, in this case, for better efficacy and safety profiles”, David Smoller, chief scientific officer at Sigma-Aldrich, said.
Expanding the portfolio of services through use of Sigma-Aldrich technology is one of three ways the new owners plan to grow BioReliance. Cross-selling and geographic expansions, particularly in Asia and Latin America, are the other strategies.
Sigma-Aldrich has pushed into emerging markets in recent years and plans to use this experience and infrastructure to grow BioReliance. Latin America and Asia-Pacific now account for one-quarter of sales at Sigma-Aldrich.