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Posted on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

Becton, Dickinson reveals it paid more than $200 million for Accuri Cytometers

By Nathan Bomey

New Jersey-based medical devices giant Becton, Dickinson and Co. revealed Wednesday that it paid $205 million for Scio Township-based Accuri Cytometers, a deal that was first announced in February.

It's the first time BD has publicly discussed the deal's price, which makes Accuri's acquisition one of the largest deals for an Ann Arbor area startup over the last decade.

The largest deal for a local tech company over the last 10 years was Pfizer Inc.'s $1.3 billion acquisition of drug development firm Esperion Therapeutics in 2004. Pfizer in 2007 closed its Esperion division, but the startup's founder, Lipitor co-discoverer Roger Newton, licensed intellectual property from Pfizer and restarted Esperion in 2008.


Jennifer Baird, a founder and former CEO of Accuri Cytometers, helped build the University of Michigan spinoff company into a coveted local tech firm.

File photo |

The second largest deal in recent years was BD's $275 million acquisition of Pittsfield Township-based HandyLab in 2009. But BD turned around and announced in October 2010 that it would close HandyLab's local operation and shift manufacturing of its rapid infection-detection device to the East Coast.

Other major deals for local companies in recent years include Johnson & Johnson's 2008 acquisition of software firm HealthMedia and Tektronix Communication's 2010 acquisition of Arbor Networks. The dollar amounts of those deals were never revealed, but Johnson & Johnson is believed to have paid more than $200 million for HealthMedia.

Accuri, which has about 85 workers at its manufacturing and engineering complex, is still operating its Scio Township headquarters for now.

Since BD closed HandyLab's local office, there has been concern that the company will do the same thing with Accuri.

But several sources have said they believe BD may take a different approach with Accuri, in part because the company has a more significant manufacturing presence in Scio Township than HandyLab had in Pittsfield.

Former Accuri CEO Jeff Williams, who recently resigned to become CEO of nascent U-M startup Life Magnetics, told this week that he believes Accuri may be here to stay.

"The company’s doing great," said Williams, who was also CEO of HandyLab when it was sold. "BD has significant plans for the Accuri brand, as well as for the facility here. I think it’s a very exciting time for Accuri."

Vince Forlenza, BD's president and chief operating officer, told investors Wednesday that Accuri's device is currently being used by 1,200 labs and 70,000 researchers.

"It will allow us to eventually bring affordable flow cytometry to hundreds of thousands of life science researchers around the world who are not currently using flow, but whose research might benefit from its power and utility," Forlenza told investors, according to a transcript of the call on "This acquisition is an excellent addition to our portfolio and is aligned with our strategy of driving revenue growth through innovation.

Forlenza told investors that Accuri would boost BD's biosciences revenue by 1 to 2 percentage points per year over the next three years. The company's total biosciences revenue in the 2010 fiscal year was $1.26 billion.

Accuri's founders, Collin Rich and Jennifer Baird, built the University of Michigan spinoff company into a coveted technology company and a symbol of the Ann Arbor region's startup prowess. Baird is now CEO of Pittsfield Township-based alternative energy startup Accio Energy.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.