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14 December, 2015 - 14:41 By Kate Sweeney

Abcam tilts at second Business of the Year title

Alan Hirzel

Since winning the Business Weekly Business of the Year Award in 2009, Abcam has almost doubled its revenues (2014/15: £135.4 million). 

The company’s significant growth has been driven by the addition of new product lines including immunoassays, kits, and multiplex miRNA assays, and advancing quality in the marketplace with its recombinant antibody range and industry-changing initiative ‘knockout validation’. 

In 2014, Abcam opened an office in Shanghai, China, and saw regional growth increase by 75 per cent and in the last few years has also provided a direct service to the growing Asia-Pacific markets – Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Abcam is continuously looking at new ways it can serve researchers to advance the global understanding of biology and causes of disease making available the latest products, technologies and services. The company has just strengthened its hand with a $45 million acquisition in the US. It is paying $20m up front for AxioMx in Branford, Connecticut, with roll-up performance-related tranches totalling $25m.

Abcam CEO Alan Hirzel (pictured) said AxioMx provides a unique, cost-effective, and proprietary platform to produce recombinant monoclonal antibodies  complementing Abcam’s existing innovative production capabilities.
Abcam believes this in vitro technology will enable Abcam to offer novel tools to existing and new customers working in technically challenging areas such as infectious disease, toxins, nucleotides, and membrane bound proteins. The acquisition price will be funded from a combination of Abcam’s existing cash resources and newly issued shares.

AxioMx, which was founded in 2012 by Dr Michael Weiner and Christopher McLeod, has 28 employees and is said to have created a powerful and scalable in vitro recombinant monoclonal antibody technology. Hirzel said this complements Abcam’s existing antibody and immunoassay capabilities by targeting attractive and growing markets that traditional in vivo antibody production methods struggle to address.

As well as opening new markets, AxioMx’s antibody and binder development capabilities mean that high quality antibodies can be produced within weeks, which is significantly faster than in vivo methods. 

AxioMx currently provides access to its technology as a service to research institutes as well as diagnostics and therapeutics organisations. As part of the integration with Abcam, AxioMx will be re-focused to develop highly validated recombinant antibodies for inclusion in the Abcam catalogue, combining this technology with our renowned digital platform, brand and customer service capabilities.

The ability to produce highly validated antibodies is a key element of Abcam’s strategy to increase the value of its products to the scientific community. 

After an initial period of investment and production scale up, AxioMx is expected to contribute both to revenue growth and profitability in the next few years.

Hirzel said: “The acquisition of AxioMx is in line with our strategy of acquiring businesses which enable Abcam to increase the supply of high quality products generated from our own innovation, and allows us to respond more quickly to our customers’ needs. This acquisition enhances our ability to serve emerging life science needs and supports our mission to be the most influential and recommended company for life scientists worldwide.

“After an extensive review of alternate scaffold and other in vitro technologies, we are confident that AxioMx has created unique, high quality and economically attractive methods to serve customers in research, diagnostic and drug discovery labs globally.”

The Business Weekly Awards are sponsored by Mills & Reeve, AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Barclays, PwC, TTP Group, UK Trade & Investment, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, St John’s Innovation Centre and Bailey Fisher Executive Search.

• Business Weekly’s Awards dinner will be held at Queens’ College, Cambridge on the evening of Wednesday, March 16, 2016. To enter the competition visit

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