Weather Forecast


Alex born company now part of global high-tech firm

Joe Salo, site director of LGC’s Alexandria campus, demonstrates the use of the Nexar®, which dispenses tiny samples for DNA analysis. (Beth Leipholtz / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Douglas Scientific created and produces this product, called Array Tape®, which allows hundreds of samples for DNA testing to be placed and processed inside small indentations, allowing labs to save money and increase production. (Beth Leipholtz / Echo Press) 2 / 2

Feeding the world, protecting the world and curing the world — these are goals Alexandria company LGC Douglas Scientific are trying to achieve as part of a global corporation.

In April 2016, Douglas Scientific was acquired by LGC, a life sciences company based in the United Kingdom. Though the company's products are still branded as Douglas Scientific, the company itself is now called LGC Douglas Scientific.

LGC Douglas Scientific falls under LGC's Genomics division. Genomics is a field which has to do with studying an organism's DNA and its genetic makeup.

By developing equipment that allows scientists and doctors to identify genetic traits quickly, LGC Douglas Scientific site director Joe Salo says the company is able to work toward its goals of helping to feed the world, protect the world and cure the world.

To achieve such goals, LGC Douglas Scientific works with large seed companies to more quickly develop seeds with traits that allow for greater yields, the ability to grow in a wider variety of soils and climates and remain fresh longer after harvest. The company also works with organizations to identify potentially harmful materials in water and food.

The field of medicine also benefits from the work of LGC Douglas Scientific, says Salo.

"For example, doctors are discovering that patients respond to one treatment better than another treatment option based on their genetic makeup," Salo said. "Knowing this allows the best treatment to be administered for each person."

According to Salo, the acquisition by LGC was a good decision for both sides.

"We had this incredible, talented pool of engineers, technicians, field service professionals and manufacturing capabilities," Salo said. "LGC is a company with tons of scientists and only a few engineers. So we are exactly the opposite ratio, with mostly engineers and a few scientists...It was a fantastic strategic mix."

One of LGC's products is reagents — a mixture added to a system to test for a chemical reaction — for use with Douglas Scientific's instruments.

LGC also produced its own instruments and was a major Douglas Scientific competitor. Now, these instruments are being transferred to Alexandria and will be made and serviced at LGC Douglas Scientific.

In fact, Salo says the Alexandria site is becoming "the center of excellence for laboratory automation" for the Genomics division of LGC. The transfer of technology is expected to be complete by March 31, 2018.

"Since day one of the acquisition, organizational leadership has loved the culture here," Salo said. "They've seen the passion and capabilities of our team members and in response they are providing us opportunities to expand our operations, like this technology transfer from a site near London, England."

According to Salo, this shift means a few things for the Alexandria site:

• Five new positions with the likelihood of more in the future

• The chance to produce more laboratory instruments for customers around the world

• Continued product development

Salo says that the LGC Douglas Scientific team is excited about the shift and is looking forward to continuing to grow and change as the genomics field does so.

"The field that we're in is rapidly changing," he said. "We're not afraid to take chances. We have people that are really dynamic, really quick. We hire brilliant people. We know that if we don't learn at a rapid pace, we are just going to get run over in this industry. So we are constantly growing people, and constantly putting people in positions that stretch their comfort zones."

About LGC

LGC is headquartered in Teddington, U.K., and the company employs over 2,300 people, operating out of 22 countries worldwide.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233