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Agilent acquires Rainbow Seed’s Cobalt Light Sytems in GBP40m deal

Early-stage investor Rainbow Seed Fund today announces that Oxfordshire-based Cobalt Light Systems, a provider of highly differentiated Raman spectroscopic instruments, has been acquired by Agilent Technologies Inc.

Cobalt Light Systems, a spin-out from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory which was funded from the earliest stages by Rainbow Seed Fund, produces innovative products for non-invasive, through-barrier chemical analysis, for applications in airport security, hazardous chemical ID and pharmaceutical QC, using a technologically advanced Raman spectroscopy technique.
Cobalt Light Systems’s CEO Paul Loeffen will remain with Agilent as the Director of Raman Spectroscopy. The former Cobalt Light Systems HQ, on the rapidly growing Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire UK, will become Agilent’s global centre for Raman spectroscopy.
Privately held and ranked as one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies in 2014, Cobalt Light Systems’s customers include 21 of the world’s 25 largest pharmaceutical companies, the US Food and Drug Administration, and more than 75 airports across Europe and Asia-Pacific, including eight of the 10 largest European airports, with over 500 devices deployed at airport checkpoints. Recently, Cobalt Light Systems has entered environmental screening markets such as law enforcement, customs and borders, and first responders its handheld platform.
Ian Taylor, Chairman of Rainbow Seed Fund, says: “As a seed investor in innovations from the UK’s science base, Rainbow enables scientists to commercialise their innovations. The acquisition of Cobalt Light Systems demonstrates our objective to leverage private capital to validate, invest and grow leading UK science. The successful sale of Cobalt Light Systems gives Rainbow additional funds to re-invest in ideas emerging from the UK’s world-leading research base.”
“As the first investor, more than a decade ago,” says Dr Andrew Muir, Investment Director of the Rainbow Seed Fund, “we are proud of Cobalt Light Systems’s path from research origins at Rainbow partner STFC to a global market and this successful outcome demonstrates our strategy of providing very early investment to validate and develop research with high-growth potential.”

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