Hygiena acquires Helica Biosystems, Inc., expands precise food safety technology portfolio

Company to provide immunoassay-based testing for mycotoxins in dairy, cereals, and other foods

Hygiena, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company that specializes in rapid food safety and environmental diagnostic tests, today announced that the company acquired Helica BioSystems, Inc., based in Santa Ana, Calif., effective March 28.

Helica specializes in the development of enzyme linked immuno-assays (ELISA) that can detect mycotoxins, a family of highly toxic chemicals that are naturally emitted by specific fungi which are a persistent problem in dairy, grain, feed, food and beverages products. Maximum acceptable levels of mycotoxins are very low (in the parts per billion range) due to their extreme toxicity, and the toxins can cause a variety of health problems such as liver cancer, kidney complications, stunting in children, and many other conditions.

Helica supplies a full menu of mycotoxin detection tests as well as research test kits for testing inflammatory markers such as C-Reactive Protein for the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, the company offers contract research and private label manufacturing services. One of Helica’s best-selling tests is for aflatoxin M1, a type of mycotoxin that persists in milk and other dairy products.

With the addition of these tests, Hygiena expands its portfolio of food safety and quality assurance products offered to its global customer base. Helica’s products complement Hygiena’s allergen detection (which include other ELISA- and lateral flow-based tests), ATP and pathogen detection product portfolios and provide the best value in science-based solutions to help meet the diverse needs of food and beverage companies.

“We are excited to welcome Helica to the Hygiena family and to include its products and services in Hygiena’s food safety testing portfolio,” said Steven Nason, Chief Executive Officer of Hygiena. “Helica’s products are known for their versatility and quality, and we are prepared to build on the company’s existing presence in developed and emerging markets.”

Helica’s operations will remain in Santa Ana, and all Helica employees will become employees of Hygiena. Helica’s products will be available through Hygiena’s global commercial sales team as well as the global network of distributor partners. Hygiena also will continue Helica’s research initiatives aimed at developing new assays for food safety.

“We are excited to join Hygiena,” said Wondu Wolde-Mariam, CEO of Helica. “Helica has come a long way, starting in a garage to now becoming part of the world’s leading provider of food safety products. Our R&D and production facilities are certified to the ISO 13485:2016 standard, and our quality is second to none.”

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