It seems that Life Technologies Corporation (LIFE) is on an expansion spree to further enhance its footprints in emerging markets. Following the acquisition of South Korea-based distributor, Life Science Korea (:LSK), the company came up with a new licensing agreement with Kunshan, China-based Suzhou Ribo Life Sciences Co. Ltd (Ribo).
The agreement will enable Ribo to develop small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology in China, using Life’s Invivofectamine Rx delivery technology, to create a new platform for human diseases with high unmet medical needs in the Chinese healthcare system. As per the deal, for each of Ribo’s Invivofectamine Rx-based therapeutics product, Life will receive milestone and royalty payments.
While the Chinese government is emphasizing on siRNA therapeutics as one of its few critical emerging technologies to gain a dominant presence, this new partnership may prove vital for Life in its expansion plan in the high-potential Chinese market.
The government is almost on the verge of completing the construction of a new and advanced 400,000-square-feet facility in Kunshan for Ribo and the Kunshan Institute of siRNA. Both Ribo and Life remain hopeful about the entire partnership and expect to introduce the first Invivofectamine Rx-based program targeting Hepatitis-B shortly.
Over the last few quarters, Life Technologies has performed well in the emerging markets. Last week, the company acquired Life Science Korea (:LSK), a South Korea-based distributor. Life Technologies remains hopeful about the acquisition, which is in line with the company’s ongoing go-direct strategy in South Korea, one of the company’s important international markets. Earlier in April, as a part of this strategy, the company acquired KDR Biotech Co., a reagents distributor based in Seoul, Korea.
In Mar 2013, China's State Food and Drug Administration (:SFDA) approved the company’s Applied Biosystems 3500xL Dx Genetic Analyzer for clinical diagnostic use in China. Moreover, the company launched 10 Assays from its joint venture with Daan Gene.
The recent developments are considered as a major extension of Life Technologies' capabilities to serve the clinical end market in China. China continues to be one of the growth markets for Life Technologies, with the company’s investment in this region covering multiple fronts, including expansion of operational capabilities. After recording a temporary slowdown in the Greater China business about a year ago, the company augmented its dealer model and supplemented it with its own sales force. These efforts have led to the successful restoration of operations in Greater China to normal levels with high-teens growth.
Benefits from these initiatives are being realized in the form of products with higher margins and faster turnaround in addition to providing further tax efficiencies. These strategies should enable Life to capitalize on the immense potential of these fast-growing regions.
Life currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While the upsides are already factored into Life’s shares, we are more positive about other medical stocks such as Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN), Natus Medical Inc. (BABY) and Haemonetics Corporation (HAE). These stocks carry a favorable Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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