Los Angeles Business Journal

One Lambda Inc. To Be Acquired for $925 Million

By Deborah Crowe Originally published July 16, 2012 at 10:20 a.m., updated July 16, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.

Canoga Park medical company One Lambda Inc. will be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world’s second-largest maker of health-care equipment, for about $925 million, the companies announced on Monday.

Thermo Fisher of Waltham, Mass. said it is buying the privately held company to expand its specialty diagnostics business. One Lambda makes test kits, laboratory instruments and computer software primarily used in transplant medicine. Transplant centers use the kits to determine the compatibility of donors and recipients to reduce the potential for organ rejection.

“The One Lambda team has pioneered market-leading tests that are widely used,” said Thermo Fisher Chief Executive Marc N. Casper in a statement. “With its strong technology platform, high-margin profile and good growth prospects, the business is perfectly aligned with our specialty in vitro diagnostics strategy.”

The San Fernando Valley company was founded in 1984 and has more than 300 employees. Revenue last year was about $182 million. One Lambda’s technology was initially developed at UCLA by Professor Paul Terasaki; the firm's co-founder.

The purchase price includes a three-year talent retention program and a one-year earn-out based on hitting certain financial targets, the companies said.

The deal is among the largest involving a Los Angeles County biotech in recent years. Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Abraxis BioScience Inc., an L.A. cancer drug maker, was sold to Celgene Corp. for $2.9 billion in cash and stock in 2010. Johnson & Johnson acquired Cougar Biotechnology Inc., a Westwood cancer drug developer, for $970 million in 2009.

Ahmed Enany, chief executive of the SoCalBio trade group, notes that One Lambda is one of the last first-generation biotech companies launched in the Los Angeles area in the early 1980s that became successful and stayed independent. With its sale, only Thousand Oak's Amgen Inc. remains in that category.

"The deal inked with Thermo Fischer is impressive given the current financial environment," Enany said. "One Lambda's founders should be commended for their ability to sell the company for about 5 times the size of its annual revenues."