Thermo Fisher’s $145M Buyout of Ahura Scientific Good News for Arch, Castile, and Other Venture Backers

1/19/10

Waltham, MA-based research products giant Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) has agreed to pay $145 million in cash to acquire venture-backed Ahura Scientific, according to a press release. The proposed deal is expected to close later this quarter, and it’s big a potential payday for Wilmington, MA-based Ahura’s venture backers such as Arch Venture Partners, which has operations in Boston and Seattle, Waltham, MA-based Castile Ventures, California’s Fuse Capital, and GF Private Equity Group, of Durango, CO.

Ahura, which says it has raised $29.5 million in venture capital since it formed in 2002, is a provider of handheld optical devices that use Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to enable customers in the security and pharmaceutical markets to rapidly detect chemicals and metals. Thermo Fisher wants to make the Ahura product line part of its portfolio of handheld analyzers. Ahura had an estimated $45 million in product sales in 2009, and Thermo Fisher has agreed to provide Ahura’s investors potential payments based on sales of Ahura products in 2010, in addition to the initial $145 million in cash.

“This combination brings together both companies’ leading technologies for portable chemical and elemental analysis, allowing us to create a powerful tool set for our customers that enables laboratory-quality analysis in the field,” said Marc Casper, president and chief executive of Thermo Fisher, in a statement.

Ahura, which now has 120 employees, will be integrated into Thermo Fisher’s analytical technologies business if the transaction goes through as planned.

Keith Crandell, a co-founder and managing director for Arch Venture Partners in Chicago, led the firm’s investment in Ahura. Nina Saberi, a founder and managing general partner of Castile Ventures, serves on the board of directors at Ahura.

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