Acquisition signals growth abroad for food test firm

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Food allergen testing firm Genon Laboratories has become part of Synergy Health in an acquisition that signals significant international expansion for the business.

The services of Hebden Bridge-based Genon are used across the UK’s food manufacturing, processing and retail industries and it is estimated that its laboratory undertook more than 25 per cent of all authentication tests during the 2013 horse meat scandal.

Synergy, a global provider of outsourced clinical services, intends to invest in developing further Genon’s test technologies in the UK and extend its highly-specialised services across mainland Europe and beyond.

Genon, formed in 2006 by Manchester University molecular biologist and geneticist, Dr Mike Bromley, and microbiologist, Dr Mike Birch, has grown over the past decade, as food producers, processors and retailers have responded to rising public concern about food allergens, particularly gluten.

Angela Bromley, Genon general manager, said: “Becoming part of Synergy Health means we will have the investment to create a global presence. We aim to keep and further develop our specialist focus for UK customers, but also take our services to much wider markets, including the establishment of laboratory facilities in mainland Europe. The overseas market has plenty of scope for growth and we are very excited about the possibilities.”

Chris Fullerton, Synergy Health managing director, added: “The acquisition supports our wider strategy to expand as a specialist provider of analytical and technical services across the toxicology, pathology and the specialist food testing market sectors.

“We will invest significantly in Genon to develop innovative technologies and expand its range of niche analytical services for the food industries. When we were looking for a partner in this sector they really impressed us with the manner in which they combined cutting-edge scientific expertise with exceptional customer service.”