Like the nerdiest kid in school, Beckman Coulter never saw a test it didn't love. The company makes more than 600 diagnostic testing systems and supplies, from simple blood tests to complicated genetic diagnostic tools. Its wares are used by hospital and other clinical laboratories to suss out diseases and monitor their progression. Its clinical products include immunoassay, clinical chemistry, and hematology systems, as well as products in the growing field of molecular diagnostics. In addition to its systems for diagnosing patients, Beckman Coulter makes life science products used by researchers to understand disease and develop new therapies. The company is a subsidiary of industrial automation firm Danaher.
Change in Company Type
Beckman Coulter was acquired by Danaher in 2011 for about $5.8 billion, plus the assumption of debt. Formerly a publicly traded company, Beckman Coulter is now part of Danaher's rapidly expanding life sciences and diagnostics segment, joining the Leica, AB Sciex, Radiometer, and Molecular Devices businesses, which serve medical, research, and pathology markets. The acquisition gave Beckman Coulter access to a broad range of resources in the biomedical testing arena and enhanced the breadth of services that the company is able to offer to its customers. It also allowed both companies to cross-sell laboratory equipment to their respective customer bases.
Beckman Coulter markets its products in more than 160 countries, and sales outside the US have historically accounted for more than half of revenues.
Over the years, Beckman Coulter has installed more than 275,000 of its clinical diagnostic systems around the world. Along with instruments, it sells reagents and other consumable testing supplies (as well as technical support services) that provide recurring revenue over the life of a system; about 80% of revenue typically comes from recurring sales, mostly to midsized to large hospitals. In addition to diagnosing diseases and medical conditions, the clinical systems are used to make decisions on how to treat a patient and to monitor the patient's treatment responses. Health care products range from single-use kits used in physician offices to high-volume laboratory processing systems for urine, blood, cellular, and molecular samples. Meanwhile, life science products account for about 15% of revenues.
Sales and Marketing
Beckman Coulter's sales and distribution networks are being integrated into the Danaher organization. Prior to its acquisition by Danaher, the company primarily marketed products through its own sales force, but relied on independent distributors in certain markets. The company sells to individual hospitals and labs, as well as to hospital group purchasing organization such as HealthTrust. Additionally, the company is the North American distributor of Instrumentation Laboratory's hemostasis (blood disorder testing) products, sold mainly under the ACL brand.
Beckman Coulter tries to stay ahead of the competition by researching and developing improved and new systems that cost-effectively perform high volumes of tests for its health care and life science clients. For instance, Beckman Coulter is investing substantial resources towards the creation of an enhanced automated molecular diagnostic (genetic testing) system that will allow for complex molecular testing in clinical labs. It also launches improved versions of its centrifuges, slide preparers, flow cytometers, and other instruments. Some of its R&D efforts are conducted through partnerships with firms such as ImmunoSite (particle characterization instruments) and Vitrology (biosafety testing).
In addition, the firm is working to expand its test offerings, with a focus on the growing fields of flow cytometry, immunoassay, and molecular diagnostic products in targeted disease categories. To improve results reporting capabilities and reduce medical errors, Beckman Coulter also launched a new version of its Remisol Advance data management system in 2012.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2012 Danaher moved to expand the Beckman Coulter operations when it agreed to acquire IRIS International for some $338 million. The purchase will add automated in-vitro diagnostic systems for body-fluid analysis to the company's offerings.
Earlier in 2012, Beckman Coulter added a line of automated flow cytrometry systems and related consumables through the acquisition of Blue Ocean Biomedical. The purchase expanded the company's line of low-complexity systems for sample preparation and analysis.