Israel's BioData buys US co LabLife

BioData, which develops research laboratory management tools, was taken over by MacMillan nine months ago.

Israeli company BioData Ltd. has bought all the assets of LabLife Software Inc. of the US for a few million dollars. The two companies deal in research laboratory management software, and had been competitors.

Nine months ago, the Digital Science division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd., owners of Nature Publishing Group, acquired control of BioData for $5-10 million.

BioData founder and co-CEO Jonathan Gross told "Globes" today, "BioData was founded four years ago, and has not raised external capital. We worked according to a model of payment for our services from day one. LabLife worked under a different business model, of heavy subsidizing of its product, and even free distribution, with revenue to come from advertising. This model proved problematic in research lab software, and the company encountered financial difficulties and laid off almost all its employees, even though its product was successful.

"We are delighted to have acquired the activity, and we will continue to provide service to LabLife's customers. Later on, we may transfer them to our product. For a scientist who buys software, the most important thing is continuity, and our association with MacMillan means we have strong backing." LabLife has several thousand customers.

BioData employs fourteen people at its offices in Rosh Ha'ayin, and one person in the US, and has plans to expand. It has not taken on new employees with the acquisition. There are other Israeli companies in its field. "The best known laboratory management company in Israel is Starlims, which was bought by Abbott, but its activity is different from ours," says Gross. "Their product suits industrial laboratories subject to a great deal of regulation. Research and development labs, whether in academic institutions or within pharmaceuticals companies, have different needs, for example, lower costs, but also much more flexibility."

MacMillan's Digital Science division covers research data mining and development of research tools based on parameters other than those currently in use. BioData has synergy with data mining. "Our system can automatically connect between an article that a researcher is reading to information gathered from his laboratory. We have other ideas in this area, but it's still too early to talk about them," says Gross.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 14, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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