Abcam acquires Firefly BioWorks to expand capabilities in multiplex analysis


Abcam plc, a global leader in the supply of life science research tools, today announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Firefly BioWorks Inc on a cash-free/debt-free basis for £18.5m ($28.0m).


The consideration, which is payable in cash on completion, will be funded from Abcam's existing resources [1].

Firefly has developed a novel multiplex assay platform for the detection of biomarkers, based on a microfabrication technology developed by the founders at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has developed its first product for detection of microRNAs (miRNAs). Firefly has 15 employees and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Acquisition fits well with Abcam's strategy outlined in September to establish new growth platforms and supports the Company's mission to enable scientists to discover more. Firefly will strengthen Abcam's fast growing Kits and Assays business by adding an IP-protected, multiplex assay capability. miRNA is one of the fastest growing areas of biomarker and scientific research and this type of nucleic acid detection and measurement is rapidly growing in importance to Abcam's life science consumers. Abcam and Firefly also see further potential to combine Abcam's proprietary RabMAb® technology with Firefly's assay capability to provide multiplex protein measurement.

After an initial period of modest investment, Firefly is expected to generate attractive returns in the longer term.

The Acquisition is expected to close by the end of this month.

Alan Hirzel, CEO of Abcam commented: "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. 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. We also look forward to combining it with our RabMAb technology to bring new products to market over the forthcoming years."

Davide Marini, CEO of Firefly commented: "Firefly was founded upon the vision of integrating bioinformatics with intelligent assays and has great cultural similarities with Abcam. Our combined companies have a tremendous opportunity to develop novel assay products which will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery."

About Firefly

Firefly offers a platform for solution-phase multiplexed detection of proteins and nucleic acids. The company's open platform allows industrial, academic, and clinical scientists to develop and use multiplexed biological assays on standard laboratory flow cytometers. Firefly was incorporated in 2009.

About Abcam

Abcam plc is a global leader in the supply of life science research tools, with a wide range of products and expert technical support, enabling scientists to analyse living cells at the molecular level and improving the understanding of health and disease.

Abcam is committed to providing scientists with an extensive choice of reagents and tools, with the most comprehensive, honest and up-to-date datasheets and customer reviews, fast delivery and helpful customer service & technical support. The Company's catalogue evolves with scientific research trends and is growing each year to provide customers with products to meet their research needs. The range now includes primary and secondary antibodies, proteins, peptides, lysates, biochemicals, immunoassays and other kits. Abcam also supports its customers by hosting a range of global scientific events, forums and webinars, providing opportunities for scientists to get together and present their work.

Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, Abcam has nine global subsidiary offices enabling local services and multi-language support and sells to over 100 countries. The Company was founded in 1998, and now employs over 750 people. Abcam was admitted to AIM in 2005 (AIM: ABC).

To find out more, please visit

[1] This announcement, including any information included or incorporated by reference in this announcement, may contain forward-looking statements (including words such as "believe", "expect", "estimate", "intend", "anticipate" and words of similar meaning) which are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Abcam group. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements and should not be treated as guarantees of future performance. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Abcam group, and there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as at the date of this announcement and accordingly undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. The Abcam group does not assume any obligation to, and does not intend to, revise or update these forward-looking statements, except as required pursuant to applicable law.


For further information please contact:

Trade & local media contact

Katie Odgaard
Zyme Communications
+44(0) 7787 502 947

Alan Hirzel, Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Iliffe, Chief Financial Officer
Laura Taylor - Investor Relations
+ 44 (0) 1223 696 000

J.P.Morgan Cazenove - Nominated Adviser & Joint Corporate Broker
James Mitford / Alex Bruce - Nominated Adviser
+ 44 (0) 20 7742 4000

Peel Hunt LLP - Joint Corporate Broker
Clare Terlouw / Jock Maxwell MacDonald - Corporate Broking
+ 44 (0) 20 7418 8900

Justine Mcllroy / Will Medvei / Anna Carruth
+44 (0) 20 7404 5959