Biopool International, a Ventura biotechnology firm, is working with two New York-based investment-banking firms to help the company locate and finance business acquisitions.
Biopool enlisted the help of Commonwealth Associates and HealthCare Capital earlier this month. Commonwealth specializes in assisting health-care and high-tech industries in their business ventures, and HealthCare Capital provides financial services to health-care companies.
"We have stated for some time that part of our growth strategy is to acquire other companies," said Michael Bick, chairman and chief executive of Biopool. "We have looked at a number of opportunities and haven't found anything satisfactory, [so] we have decided to broaden the scope of our search."
Biopool develops, manufactures and markets chemical test kits to help diagnose blood, vascular and other disorders, as well as to detect drug abuse. The chemicals react with a patient's blood to gauge enzyme levels, glucose levels, uric acid content and other indicators of a patient's health.
Bick said the investment bankers have already found potential acquisitions, but he would not identify them.
"There are a number of things that could meet our criteria," Bick said. "It could be companies with product lines that broaden what Biopool has today. We could be looking at companies with proven technology that applies to our market. We could be interested in something with a good geographical base or a good distribution base."
David Enzer, managing director of Commonwealth's Los Angeles office, said companies that are either similar or complementary to Biopool could be a good fit for the Ventura operation.
"Biopool deals with drug-abuse testing, blood testing, so maybe it will be another company that has other kinds of testing," he said. "Maybe it will be a company with a different product, or overlapping products with better distribution. It could be something service-oriented but related to drug testing, or maybe a company that manufactures the equipment used in the tests themselves."
Bick said he has been searching for such potential acquisitions for about two years. "But obviously not full time," he said. "That's why we have these [investment banks], to make it a more full-time, aggressive approach."
Biopool reported net income of $299,963 on sales of about $1.78 million for the first quarter of 1996 that ended March 31. That compares with net income of $153,845 on sales of about $1.5 million for the same period in 1995.