Tools Company Nexus Biosystems Acquires Aurora Biotechnologies

Xconomy San Diego — 

Nexus Biosystems, a life sciences tools company located 20 miles north of San Diego in Poway, says it’s acquiring another tools company in the area, Aurora Biotechnologies. The price wasn’t disclosed.

Both privately held companies develop technologies for the storage and management of biological samples used to study genetic traits and human disease, among other things. Their customers include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agrichemical companies, and research institutions. Nexus CEO John Lillig says the acquisition broadens the company’s product offerings.

“As we head into 2010 with Aurora technologies, we are very excited about the opportunity to expand our product reach beyond automated sample management into high throughput biochemical, cell-based and genomic screening applications,” Lillig says in a statement.

Aurora, which is located near San Diego in Carlsbad, CA, traces its roots to Aurora Biosciences, a tools company that was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA. Aurora Biotechnologies was founded to commercialize the instrumentation of Aurora Biosciences. Dr. Roger Tsien, of UC San Diego and the 2008 Nobel laureate in chemistry, was a scientific co-founder of Aurora Biosciences and is a co-inventor of several of Aurora Biotechnologies patents, according to the latter company.

Nexus was founded in 2005 and has a subsidiary in Germany. The company’s financial backers include Telegraph Hill Partners, a private equity firm in San Francisco.

Denise Gellene is a former Los Angeles Times science writer and regular contributor to Xconomy. You can reach her at Follow @

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