LIFE TECHNOLOGIES CORP.
CEO: Gregory T. Lucier.
Revenue: $3.3 billion in 2009.
Net income: $550.9 million in 2009.
No. of local employees: 1,300.
Year founded: 2008.
Stock symbol and exchange: LIFE on Nasdaq.
Company description: Develops and sells biotech
tools to customers in the fields of personalized medicine,
regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and
environmental research and forensics.
If current sales efforts go as planned, Life Technologies Corp.s
new detection kit for a bovine virus could potentially be a cash
cow for the Carlsbad-based company, which manufactures biotech
tools for customers across a wide spectrum of industries.
We think there will be a lot of interest, said Brian Kim,
general manager of Life Technologies animal testing unit in Austin,
Texas, which is developing test kits to detect diseases in
production animals like cows, pigs and poultry.
For meat producers, especially, detecting and treating diseases
are an economic imperative, said Kim, who added that the company
continues to see its tools gain acceptance in a growing number of
market segments, such as the animal health industry.
The new product targeting the beef industry is called the
VetMAX-Gold BVDV Detection Kit and provides veterinary diagnostic
labs around the world with a tool to test cattle for type 1 and
type 2 bovine viral diarrhea virus an immune-suppressing disease
that makes cows susceptible to a range of respiratory and
In the lab, personnel can exponentially amplify a DNA sample
(such as a sample taken from a cow) in an effort to detect the
presence of a particular pathogen, said Kim. He declined to discuss
the price per kit, citing a competitive environment in the
A Year Spent on R&D
Kim said Life Technologies first U.S. Department of
Agriculture-licensed test is a big deal for us, and represents
about a years worth of research and development for the unit, which
employs about two dozen people. Life Technologies Austin campus,
one of about 30 worldwide, has 320 employees.
The test will be marketed to stand-alone veterinary labs and
meat producers to detect BVDV, a debilitating disease that costs
the U.S. cattle industry an estimated $2 billion per year,
according to IDEXX Laboratories Inc., a Maine-based lab that
services the veterinary industry.
Its a nasty disease that makes cows in a herd more susceptible
to other diseases and reduces their weight, which is an economic
disadvantage to meat producers taking their cows to market, Kim
While Kim wouldnt comment on the potential dollar value of the
test kit roll out and didnt make sales projections that could tip
off competitors, he said the central role of animal health in
successful livestock production will have a positive impact on Life
Technologies future domestic sales.
The expected worldwide increase in beef consumption brings
urgency to the issue of food safety.
According to the advisory board of the World Agricultural Forum,
the dramatic increase in population growth and economic development
will drive continued growth in meat consumption. The Forum said
meat consumption could nearly double by 2050 from 2008 rates.
Essential to Detect in Herds
To provide some context on the extent of the problem to the
cattle industry, an academic-based veterinarian said its essential
that producers know if the disease is circulating in their
The USDA licensing of the detection kit increases confidence
when evaluating results, said Brad White, an associate professor of
veterinary medicine at Kansas State University. Accurate and
reliable tests are critical when implementing strategies to control
and eliminate BVDV from cattle herds.
Veterinary diagnosticians have historically relied on Life
Technologies molecular reagents and tools to detect and control
disease. This new product provides them with a federally approved
test containing all the necessary reagents and controls in a single
We continue to see our tools gain acceptance in a growing number
of applied market segments, said Peter Dansky, president of
molecular biology systems for Life Technologies.
The USDAs approval of our kit is a testament to Life
Technologies leadership as a supplier of highly accurate, reliable
and cost-effective molecular tests that are having a positive
impact on the cattle industry and other food producers, said