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The Abcore Story – Pivotal Scientific’s perspective from End-to-End

Sorcha Hermon

Dec 15, 2022

Exit Strategy 4

With the recent acquisition of the US company Abcore by Fortis Life Sciences, we wanted to reflect on Pivotal Scientific’s journey with the company from its inception to its sale, sharing the insight we gained, and how our services can help other businesses hoping to grow at any stage of their life cycle.

Author: Sorcha Hermon In December 2022, Sorcha moved into the M&A team in an analyst capacity, where she contributes to Pivotal Scientific's successful buy and sell side activities.

Sorcha Hermon

From establishing a gap in the market to diversifying revenue streams to raising valuable brand awareness, many companies find they need expert guidance and advice to help them reach their full potential. This is where Pivotal Scientific comes in, with an industry-leading team and a full suite of consultancy services, ready to help companies from their implementation to their Exit and everything in between.

The Abcore story is a great opportunity to showcase what we can do for businesses, and provide key insight into the growth, and eventual sale, of a biotech company in the market today.

Finding the gap

Implementing a new company requires strong industry knowledge. In 2011, Tim Bernard (CEO of Pivotal Scientific and a Founder of Abcore), along with Pivotal Scientific, utilised this know-how to set up Abcore. In 2016, Tim sold Abcore to its Senior Management team, David Barraclough (CEO) and Jennifer Johnson (President).

Abcore initially filled a gap in the market for a custom antibody house with USDA-approved services, capable of dealing with large quantities of animals at cost-effective pricing, whilst also maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare. Pivotal Scientific’s experience and contacts for customers and suppliers, and service capabilities, meant we played an important role in getting Abcore off the ground, in what continues to be a particularly competitive market.

Developing the niche

Abcore expanded its niche into virtual antibody conjugate libraries. Pivotal Scientific was utilised to source antibodies and conjugates, helping the company to make valuable connections with suppliers.

Expanding required a strong distributor network. Pivotal Scientific’s expertise in developing a range of sales channels helped achieve this. Our extensive database and established relationships with companies across life sciences, including distributors, means our B2B service is well-positioned to help companies expand their global reach.

Further developing this global network, Abcore became a US-based logistics hub, diversifying Abcore’s revenue stream, and raising its brand awareness. Pivotal Scientific utilised our international B2B skillset to introduce Abcore to European-based companies, including PSL Alliance members, looking to move into the US, like Everest Biotech, who still use it today.

Abcore shifted to focus to specialist services, following requests for Camelid, primarily llama, antibody production. Adding these nanobodies strengthened the Abcore portfolio, with improved characteristics for biotechnological application, and led to the creation of a platform for nanobody and single domain antibody discovery. This established Abcore as nanobody specialists and led to considerable growth.

Throughout this growth phase, Abcore made consistent efforts to form and maintain effective client relationships. From tuna fishing to a day at the races, their reputation for friendly service and good customer relations was of the utmost priority, becoming the fundamental driving force for their further success.

Making a successful sale

Developing Abcore’s service capabilities garnered interest from Fortis Life Sciences, a US life sciences company, interested in extending their company capabilities into nanobody and antibody discovery and development.

Abcore approached Pivotal Scientific to exclusively manage the sale of the company to Fortis Life Sciences, trusting our previous support and recognizing our skills in M&A consultancy. Having helped in over 20 sell-side transactions since 2019, coupled with the deep industry knowledge and personal experience of our M&A team, we can offer end-to-end support for the exit of companies. What sets us apart is the experience the team has in setting up companies, growing companies, and selling companies, all within the Biotechnology sector.

Pivotal Scientific performed commercial due diligence on Fortis Life Sciences ahead of the sale of Abcore. Given the close involvement with Abcore, both for Pivotal Scientific, and for Tim personally, we were thrilled that Fortis Life Sciences were a strong partner for the next stage of Abcore’s journey.

We were happy to receive testimonials from David and Jennifer, the senior management of Abcore:

“The unwavering support and guidance we received from Pivotal Scientific throughout Abcore’s development meant they could understand our company going into its sale. We are pleased with the quality and commitment of the M&A team throughout the process and are thrilled with the outcome.”

Reflecting on our journey

Part of what makes Pivotal Scientific different is our ability to guide and assist businesses with everything a growing company needs – from business plans to marketing to B2B introductions to exit strategy – all in one place. The cohesiveness of service capability and team focus allows us to share key insights:

  1. Making introductions. Our team was consistently making new introductions, and strengthening existing ones, throughout the development of Abcore, helping open new avenues of opportunity for the business.
  2. Maintaining touchpoints with our clients. By keeping our clients close – we aim to meet regularly either in person or virtually – we can form close relationships, allowing us to support at the most crucial time for businesses. This builds trust between both parties, ensuring we learn from each other, and thrive together.

Can we help your business? To learn more about our comprehensive services, and what we can do for you, no matter what stage you are at, check out our website.

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