NanoSight finds it's natural home with Malvern Instruments




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Video title: NanoSight finds it's natural home with Malvern Instruments
Released on: October 22, 2013. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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NanoSight Ltd, an innovative nanoparticle characterization company have been acquired by a leading global provider of instrumentation and expertise for materials and biophysical characterization, Malvern Instruments Ltd (Malvern, UK). In this interview Jeremy Warren, former CEO of Nanosight and Duncan Roberts of Malvern discuss the aquisition, where PharmaVentures acted on behalf of NanaoSight. NanoSight is a real entrepreneurial success story and has grown every year since it was established in 2002, achieving a turnover of £5.7 million in 2012, and has ambitious plans for the future. Malvern will be providing the investment and support needed to continue this drive forward and are absolutely committed to developing the NanoSight brand within the Malvern portfolio.
Technology of Nanosights
Fintan Walton :
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the UK Bioscience Forum, in London. On this show I have two gentlemen Jeremy Warren, who is from Nanosights and Duncan Roberts, who is from Malvern Instruments which is part of Spectris, welcome.
Duncan Roberts :
Welcome.
Jeremy Warren :
Thank you.
Fintan Walton :
The reason why you're both here today is because just couple of weeks ago it was announced that NanoSight was acquired by Malvern Instruments [PharmaDeals ID = 54746], and Jeremy you are the Former CEO?
Jeremy Warren :
Former CEO, yes.
Fintan Walton :
Yes, Former CEO of NanoSight, well just first of all what I want to do is to just look at the deal and how that actually works for the two companies perspective, just first of all Jeremy give us in a nutshell what NanoSight is all about.
Jeremy Warren :
Yes, NanoSight is built on a built around a Eureka technology, Bob Carr our Chief Executive, Senior Shareholder and Founder who was time served Porton Down scientist and he came up with the methodology for viewing nano particles in real time, essentially this lead to a range of analytical instrumentation and it has grown very rapidly. So that last year there were perhaps 600 NanoSight analytical instruments in research laboratories around the world.
Fintan Walton :
So what was it underlying the technology? What was the breakthrough that Bob Carr had done which enabled you to be that success story?
Jeremy Warren :
That it was an experiment, it was an experiment originally in surface plasmon resonance where Bob is attempting to illuminate the surface from underneath with a liquid filled chamber which had virus particles within it, some leakage of laser lights into that chamber allowed the scatter produced by the individual particles far below the resolution of normal light to be detected and by the, with that detection the size of the measured as well.
Fintan Walton :
Right okay, so basically it's a disruptive technology, it changed the way in which you could look at nanoparticles?
Jeremy Warren :
It certainly did, yes it certainly did, it filled the gap, it was fortuitous that nanotechnology was up and coming, there were many many particles with methodologies, electro-microsopy to study them, dynamic light scattering but nothing like this, it was a technology, it is a technology for its time.
Malvern Instruments's interest in Nanosights
Fintan Walton :
Right, and Jeremy you came in during the course of its growth during it's to take it forward from its early stages, just about over a year ago you started to look at the company and certainly you have shareholders, you had shareholders at that time who wanted to get who had invested in NanoSight and wanted to obviously get some liquidity, what were the challenges then and what were you looking to do at that particular moment?
Jeremy Warren :
This is always difficult, from day one we are considering at what point does this business have the maturity to exit or which time is the right time, but the momentum we built I mean that a year ago it was clear this was an established technology, we had something that we could, that we could shout about so I think the tipping point for us which we say yes we are here to some extent is the ability to sight many hundreds of third party papers people using NanoSight, users using NanoSight and such an amount of momentum that were understood by the our target market of research users and at that point we say yes we can begin a serious discussion about divestment.
Fintan Walton :
Right, and for you Duncan, you are obviously watching this company from the far, but not too far away, but within the UK and what was the attraction of NanoSight to a company like Malvern Instruments?
Duncan Roberts :
Well I guess and as Jeremy would know we've been working together in an informal way or at least talking one or another in an informal way for some four-years prior to the final decision by the shareholders to sell the business and we'd seen the company grow and evolve into a area that was very relevant to Malvern's business, the ability to measure very small nanoparticles and biological systems, and so I think for us it was something that had always been on our radar screen and something that we felt and we made several attempts in the past to try and persuade the shareholders to, that working with Malvern would be a very good home for their technology.
The key interests of potential buyers for Nanosights and PharmaVentures's role
Fintan Walton :
Right, and I suppose Jeremy from your perspective there were a number of potential buyers for NanoSight as we know, just going through that process where you know we at PharmaVentures obviously helped you with that process, what were the key issues that you saw as the interested parties showed interest in NanoSight?
Jeremy Warren :
That was where our work with PharmaVentures began, as a strategy piece of course, what happened was that we understood the particle characterization market well, that was home for us, but through the applications work we were doing we realized we had significant potential albeit a long way off in diagnostics an opportunity to produce an early diagnostic for a whole range of unmet need in cancers and we didn't understand that marketplace so or that space and that's where we asked PharmaVentures to scope that out for us, so that was the beginning of the discussion, we wanted to know how valuable are we in biodiagnostics and that where do we fit into life science tools.
Fintan Walton :
Right, and then obviously we embarked on the process of the actual sale of the business itself, there is always as I've always understood there is always an interest, I mean there was always we will give away some of the secrets here, but there was Malvern was a good, in the end quite a good fit?
Jeremy Warren :
Okay, so nobody who has heard of this deal subsequently third parties outside and our competitors would say anything other than this is our natural home Malvern and one could take the view that maybe it was going to be Malvern all long, but we really needed to understand the whole of the spectrum of potential purchasers for this business and where the value lay.
Fintan Walton :
Right and indeed and each of the interested parties all had their own perspective of how NanoSight could fit within their own organization.
Jeremy Warren :
Yes, they did and there were variety of those but the real appetite as PharmaVentures had discussed with us in the strategy stage was that this is a life science tools opportunity.
How does Nanosights fit within Malvern Instruments's overall strategy?
Fintan Walton :
Okay, now Malvern Instruments was part of Spectris has already done a number of deals in the past and part of its growth, it's a publically quoted company and so forth, with companies like NanoSight appearing out there and looking at your own interests, let's just go back to where NanoSight actually fits within the Spectris Malvern Instruments overall strategy and how that fits within your own organization.
Duncan Roberts :
So Malvern, I mean it started very much like NanoSight as a privately owned business some sort of 30, 40-years ago by entrepreneurs not dissimilar to Bob in the area of light scattering technologies, it's original focus was around particle characterization, industrial particle characterizations, solid particles I guess, and then over a period of time it became more and more interested in supporting a broader range of measurements outside of this sort of traditional industrial areas, funnily enough the original technology that we talked about in the deal of dynamic light scattering which obviously NanoSight were looking to compliment towards or compete with depending on which way you look at it.
Fintan Walton :
Depending on, just depending on.
Duncan Roberts :
It was actually developed in Malvern at the RSRE so our involvement with measuring very small particles was clear right from the start about, but however it only became a commercially viable opportunity within the last sort of 15, 20-years as people have realized more and more the huge potential that could be achieved from measuring particles with these properties and of course also the biological samples, proteins and such like became very important therapeutic agents and so again that became another driver for us, so our business has evolved from measuring large things to small things using light scattering and other techniques, moving away from industrial towards more life science applications and in the course of that transition if you like NanoSight became on our radar screen and that's how we tracked it ever since really and we've seen it very much as a complementary tool alongside our others which gives additional information to our customers in those areas.
Post acquisition and process of integration of Nanosights into Malvern Instruments
Fintan Walton :
Right, two weeks into the deal being closed, you are underway now Duncan, people always talk about doing the deal but obviously you know that's always difficult and can be difficult to do, but it's post acquisition is also important and how is that going and what issues do you see if any coming up in terms of the integration of NanoSight into Malvern Instruments?
Duncan Roberts :
To be honest I don't see any issues other than how fast can we do it and get the value out of it because I think the people are the most important element of the deal, obviously the technology is crucial too, but I think in terms of the interactions we've had with Jeremy and his team have been very positive, and we are already looking at how to integrate the different functions within the business, and I say this is a question of integrations where aligning the activities, we've obviously got to work out quite hard how to position the products through the sales channels, but I guess one of the early wins that we can get is because Malvern has got a very developed infrastructure in Asia which is obviously an area where NanoSight had limited resources to expand, we've got an immediate opportunity to take advantage of that. So I think for me it's on track, there is a lot of hard work associated with it, we are working long hours and wracking our brains to get all that resolved, but it's very exciting.
Fintan Walton :
Right, I suppose Jeremy you know again prior to the closure there was a good dialog building up between yourself and Malvern as we went into the closing stages and that helped not only to an early start to that relationship but also helped to drive the deal all the way through?
Jeremy Warren :
Almost that was really helpful, Duncan and his board colleagues reached out to the senior people within NanoSight even before the deal was completed in a manner of reassurance and that made all the difference, that personal touch.
Fintan Walton :
Right.
Duncan Roberts :
I think it may be worth mentioning it's one of the strange parts of the process here was that because it was a competitive and managed process it made that quite difficult to establish on some of the smaller deals we've done in the past, we've been in almost sole as a player if you like so you can build relationships, I think the value of the latter activity and the fact that we knew Jeremy and Bob and John very well from the previous interactions I think helped us to get through those challenging times as deal negotiations can become sometimes.
Future plans and importance of Asian market
Fintan Walton :
Right absolutely and for you Duncan, obviously the future and how do you see, you've already mentioned the importance of the Asian market for NanoSight, is NanoSight going to be totally absorbed into Malvern or it's going to be replaced as a, is it going to be it'll still remain as a single entity?
Duncan Roberts :
I think yes, I think the logic is that we will retain obviously the team that's focused on the NanoSight product and technologies, we will use just one company brand which will be Malvern but we'll retain NanoSight's visibility in the market and build on the good work that Jeremy and his team had done, and there is real attraction there for NanoSight and NTA in the markets that we are dealing with and we want to build on that. So it will absolutely not disappear as a name from within Malvern and we will align it as closely as we can with the other products and go to those particular markets that we are trying to build it into our portfolio of solutions both for the bioscience area and for the nano materials area.
Fintan Walton :
Right and for you Jeremy, obviously you are the one that's been absorbed into a larger organization, what's your view?
Jeremy Warren :
Yes, I am partially absorbed as we speak, very reassured indeed but this is this was always about our choice and reassured across the board really at all levels, but also Duncan talked about the excitement with the strength and channels that Malvern have in Asian markets for us as well the engineering and technology capability within Malvern looks like a candy stall from where I am sitting there are so many things to be developed within NanoSight which can be developed in a much more robust way within the Malvern structure, I think that's real strength as well.
Fintan Walton :
Jeremy Warren and Duncan Roberts, thank you very much indeed.
Duncan Roberts :
Thank you.
Jeremy Warren :
Thank you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Jeremy Warren
Chief Executive Officer and Director
At the time of this PTV interview Jeremy Warren serves as Chief Executive Officer and Director at Nanosights Ltd. Mr. Warren worked for Unilever in production management where he qualified as a Chartered Engineer. Mr. Warren completed an MBA at INSEAD.
Duncan Roberts
Director
At the time of this PTV interview Duncan Roberts serves as Director at Malvern Instruments Ltd. Mr Duncan Morgan Roberts was born in 1957 and the first directorship we have on file was in 1998 at Malvern Instruments Limited. His most recent directorship is with Malvern Instruments Limited where he holds the position of "Marketing director". This company has been around since 11 Aug 1971 and lists its registered address as being in Worcestershire.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Nanosights Ltd
Nanosights Ltd manufactures and supplies nanoparticle technologies for research laboratories in the United Kingdom and internationally. It offers LM10, a conventional optical microscope; LM10-HS, an instrument that is based on a conventional optical microscope, which uses a laser light source to illuminate nano-scale particles; and LM20 that is used in a non-laboratory environment or by users who are unfamiliar with microscopes. The company also provides NS200, a compact version of its high sensitivity technology used in the LM10-HS and NS500 for the study of weakly scattering nanoparticles; and NS500, an instrument that provides a reproducible platform for specific and general nanoparticle characterization. Its products are used in various nanoparticles applications, such as fluorescent nanoparticles, aggregation studies, nanoparticle standards, engineered nanoparticles, nanobubbles, orthopedic implant debris, inks and pigments, carbon nanotubes, petrochemical and oils, and CMP slurry; biological, virology, and vaccines, including drug delivery, bacteriophage, toxicology study, orthopedic wear debris, fluorescent nanoparticles, virus like particles, viral vaccines, and protein aggregation; and biodiagnostics, such as exosomes. The company sells its products through a network of distributors in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, India, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Finland, Italy, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Israel, and Turkey. NanoSight Limited was incorporated in 2002 and is headquartered in Amesbury, United Kingdom.
Malvern Instruments Ltd
Malvern Instruments Ltd recognizes and supports industry's continuing drive to optimize the products it produces and the processes it employs. The company provides a range of particle analysis and rheological instrumentation that delivers inter-related measurements reflecting the complexities of particulates and disperse systems, nanomaterials and macromolecules. Malvern has a growing portfolio of patented particle analysis technologies, and the company's in-depth industry applications knowledge enables customers to achieve their competitive advantage.