Industry News: Rigaku acquires life science imaging equipment manufacturer MILabs

The acquisition allows full-scale entry into the global life sciences business

04 Aug 2021

Rigaku Corporation, a leading manufacturer of X-ray analysis equipment, has acquired all issued shares of MILabs B.V., as part of its full-scale effort to enter the life sciences business.

Through this acquisition, Rigaku will expand its life sciences modality business globally by combining MILabs’ multi-modality businesses, including PET (Positron Emission Tomography), SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography), Optical Imaging, and CT (Computed Tomography) equipment for animals, with Rigaku's original X-ray imaging business for animals.

Founded in 2006, MILabs has provided high-performance SPECT and PET equipment with higher efficiency and accuracy than conventional alternatives and unique capabilities to image nuclear therapeutics and multiple tracers simultaneously. This leverages the company’s proprietary collimation and data acquisition technologies developed by Dr. Frederik Beekman and his colleagues. Furthermore, MILabs has developed a unique multi-modal system that enables fully integrated high performance X-ray CT, PET, SPECT, and Optical Imaging, which addresses customer needs in terms of flexibility at lower costs. The company has experienced rapid growth in sales across various imaging modalities over the last few years.

Rigaku has played a leading role in supporting the advancement of science, technology, and related industries, alongside universities, research institutions, and major industry players across the globe. The company’s business areas include nanotechnology and new materials, resources, energy, and environment, semiconductors and electronic materials, and life sciences, for which Rigaku has accumulated vast knowledge and technologies over the last 70 years. Rigaku received investment from Carlyle Group’s fund in 2021, and is currently expanding through aggressive investments in growth areas. Through this acquisition, Rigaku aims to strengthen its pre-clinical imaging business within the life sciences field by incorporating MILabs’ radiation imaging and optical imaging technologies, a new initiative for Rigaku, while simultaneously building its existing X-ray imaging business.

Rigaku believes that pre-clinical imaging will become increasingly important in the life sciences field. As innovative technologies such as gene editing are developed, it will become necessary to verify the effects and functions of edited genes through In-Vivo analysis, for which pre-clinical imaging is expected to contribute greatly. Furthermore, in the field of drug discovery, it is necessary to observe how drug candidates behave in-vivo in the development stage, and pre-clinical imaging is expected to greatly contribute to the elucidation of the drug efficacy mechanism.

Through this acquisition, Rigaku will strengthen MILabs’ sales capabilities by leveraging Rigaku's sales network, and by utilizing Rigaku's global service network, the two companies will be able to deliver even better service to customers. Furthermore, the two companies will also promote joint development of new products by combining MILabs’ technologies in radiation detection and add-on platform system design with Rigaku’s X-ray design technology.

Dr. Frederik Beekman, Founder, CEO, CSO of MILabs, commented: "We are very excited with the acquisition of MILabs by Rigaku as it will further drive our unique product offerings worldwide and accelerate our pace of innovation, reaching more biomedical researchers, doctors, and patients that will benefit from our imaging technologies”

Toshiyuki Ikeda, President and CEO of Rigaku, commented: “Through this acquisition of MILabs, we expect synergies with Rigaku’s core X-ray related business, which will promote the company’s new initiative to expand into the life sciences field. We are confident that MILabs' unique products will significantly accelerate life sciences research related to pre-clinical imaging at universities, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, we also hope to contribute to society at large by providing equipment and systems necessary for developing new testing methods and therapeutic agents. We believe these are essential for the pursuit of better QOL (Quality of Life) among aging population and for tackling the rise of new infectious diseases.”

Takaomi Tomioka, Deputy Head of Carlyle Japan, commented: “While it has only been four months since we completed our investment into Rigaku back in March of this year, I believe we have achieved a very significant strategic acquisition for the company. The expansion into the life sciences field is one of the most important initiatives within Rigaku’s growth strategy, and I am confident that the acquisition of MILabs is a meaningful first step towards achieving our long-term goals.”

Rigaku will actively enter the life science market and aim to develop this field as one of its core businesses by 2025.

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