CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Sony Corp. announced at a celebration today (Feb. 10) that it had acquired iCyt Mission Technology Inc., a fast-growing University of Illinois Research Park biotechnology company.
iCyt’s flow cytometry machines use electronic devices to count, examine and sort cells and chromosomes for diagnostic and research purposes. iCyt’s customers include university research laboratories, major hospitals, private labs, as well as corporations, such as Monsanto.
The Sony acquisition represents a new venture into the health care market for the electronics giant offering potentially new and powerful applications of its optic, data-transmission and Blu-ray disc technologies. Keiji Kimura, Sony’s executive vice president, also cited his company’s bringing “expertise in manufacturing consumer products” to the enterprise.
iCyt (www.i-cyt.com), founded in 1995, moved its staff of two into the university’s research park incubator in 2000. In 2005, they moved into the iCyt Building, expanded and added manufacturing and assembly operations in 2007. The company now has 44 full-timeemployees.
iCyt founder and CEO Gary Durack continues to lead the new fully owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. of America (www.sony.com).
“The University, Research Park and community have all been very supportive of iCyt. They have helped us function like a big company and compete with big players in our industry,” Durack said.
“When Sony was evaluating our business, they appreciated the collaboration with the University and the facilities in the park that support our business. I am extremely thankful to the University, Fox/Atkins Development, our investors and the community for their support,” he added.
iCyt has collaborative research projects with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Veterinary Medicine and its Institute for Genomic Biology with the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana-Champaign (/www.igb.uiuc.edu/facilities&services/scf.html).
Local angel investors and IllinoisVENTURES (www.illinoisventures.com), the U of I’s early-stage technology investment firm, provided early-stage funding for iCyt, and Open Prairie Ventures provided additional funding.
Avijit Ghosh, University of Illinois vice president for technology and economic development, said iCyt’s fast progress is a 21st century prototype of starting with university-based research, growing the startup at the research park, making smart decisions about growth and taking products to market.
“Acquisition by Sony Corp. represents the next stage of iCyt’s growth into a major biotech player,” Ghosh said.
The U of I’s research park (researchpark.illinois.edu) celebrates its 10thbirthday this year.
Sony news release: http://www.i-cyt.com/news/2010/sony-icyt-merger.htm
Gary Durack Avijit Ghosh
CEO Vice President for Technology and
iCyt Economic Development
(217) 693-4500 (217) 265-5440
Laura Appenzeller Frerichs
University of Illinois Research Park
iCyt offers a comprehensive line of flow cytometry products, including the revolutionaryReflection cell sorter, popular Lyt laser system, lab productivity software and novelreagent solutions. A leading innovator in the industry, iCyt has received Frost & Sullivan Emerging Technology Award, the Milestone Award and the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, in recognition of our contribution to technological development.
The Research Park at the University of Illinois is a joint development with Fox/Atkins Development LLC and is home to 73 companies including 8 other Fortune 500 companies. The Research Park is attracting companies that are seeking to engage with the University in an open innovation model, collaborating with faculty, and employing students year-round to supplement their R&D operations. The Research Park has continued to attract new operations in the last year.
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 71,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 18,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.
including: Sony, Abbott, Littelfuse, Pearson, Waterborne, Wolfram Alpha and several technology startup companies.