Acquisitions / Biotechnology

Baltimore biotech company PathSensors will be acquired

The Inner Harbor-based pathogen testing company is joining a global firm with a U.S. headquarters in Edgewood.

PathSensors is headquartered at Columbus Center. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Smash the Iron Cage, used under Creative Commons license)
Updated at 11:59 a.m., 7/2/20.

Inner Harbor-based biotech company PathSensors will be acquired by global security screening and threat detection company Smiths Detection, the companies announced this week.

With the deal, PathSensors will become part of a London-based company with 2,200 employees and a U.S. headquarters in Edgewood.

Built on genetically engineered cell technology developed at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories called CANARY, PathSensors’ products test for the presence of disease-causing agents, aka pathogens, in a specific environment in minutes. The technology was originally developed to test for bioterrorism threats, where it is currently used by defense and homeland security.

It has also expanded into applications like food and agriculture safety. The company said earlier this month that it completed Phase I of a federal Small Business Innovation Research program that created a new instrument to allow its device detecting food-borne pathogens to be available more widely.

It has used the base technology to test for different kinds of pathogens. In March, the company said it was developing technology to test for the pathogen behind COVID-19, and was looking to create a test to ensure the virus didn’t remain present on surfaces.

PathSensors has about 20 employees, and is based in Inner Harbor’s Columbus Center, which is the same building as the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). Smiths Detection is planning to keep the team at the downtown Baltimore location.

The company has been a presence in the city as it was based in the University of Maryland BioPark prior to IMET, and hired residents through the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. It has also sought international expansion via a push into China.

Smiths Detection said the acquisition would help expand the company’s capability in detecting threats, and the companies already have a similar base that Smiths Detection serves for chemical threats.

“The acquisition of PathSensors will allow us to broaden our detection capabilities within the biological spectrum, which is becoming more relevant in the current environment,” said Roland Carter, president of Smiths Detection, in a statement. “This is consistent with our approach to increase our focus on investing selectively in technology and innovation for the purpose of getting closer to our customers and expanding into new markets.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is subject to closing conditions, and is expected to conclude in the next month.

Companies: PathSensors

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