University of Birmingham‘s infectious disease reagent producer Native Antigen Company has been acquired in a deal enabling Mercia Asset Management to exit.

Native Antigen Company (NAC), a UK-based infectious disease antibodies spinout of University of Birmingham, was yesterday acquired for an undisclosed sum by life sciences equipment and technology supplier LGC Group.

Founded in 2010, NAC develops, produces and supplies native and recombinant antigens for infectious viral and bacterial diseases, aimed at biopharmaceutical research such as immunoassay testing kits, vaccines and quality control.

The spinout offers more than 60 viral and infectious disease reagents, including the spike-contoured antigen for Sars-Cov-2, the coronavirus that leads to Covid-19, and products used to combat the Zika and Dengue viral outbreaks in 2016 and 2018.

LGC will manage the portfolio to support its existing in-vitro diagnostic research tools, such as its coronavirus research materials offering AccuPlex.

NAC’s exiting investors include investment firm Mercia Asset Management, which sold a 49.4% stake for an up to £18m ($22.7m) cash consideration, a projected 8.4x return on its original contribution.

Full funding details could not be ascertained although Mercia had supplied seed funding when LGC was formed in 2010, later returning to invest from its Growth Fund 1 alongside unnamed existing shareholders in 2013.

James Wilkie, CEO of University of Birmingham Enterprise, said: “We are delighted that Native Antigen Company, which started life as a University of Birmingham spinout, has gone on to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of infectious disease reagents, and made such a huge contribution to the frontline fight against Covid-19.

“We look forward to hearing about the continued success of the company and its technology following this acquisition.”