Swiss company acquires S.D. biotech firm

Jan. 26, 2018

This piece is presented by South Dakota Biotech.

One of the world’s largest inspection, verification, testing and certification companies has acquired a thriving South Dakota-based bioscience company.

Vanguard Sciences was launched in 2008 and headquartered in North Sioux City. It’s now part of SGS of Geneva, Switzerland, a publicly traded company with more than 90,000 employees and a network of more than 2,000 offices and laboratories worldwide.

Vanguard Sciences provides product testing services such as microbial, chemical and physical analysis to clients in the food industry to enable the distribution of safe food products throughout the United States and for export.

“Our industry is constantly evolving,” said founder Phyllis Antonacci, president and CEO. “We were aware of SGS’ interest into expanding their services to include food testing in North America; this was the perfect opportunity for our companies to come together to create one of the most dynamic food testing entities. It’s really a win-win for both companies; we will have the ability to expand our services as part of SGS’ global network to better serve clients, while at the same time our expertise will enable SGS to enhance existing services.”

Vanguard is “a major addition and catalyst as SGS expands into the U.S. food testing market,” said James Nokes, SGS vice president of agriculture, food and life sciences in the U.S. “The Vanguard Sciences model, focused on quality and client satisfaction, is proven and invaluable as SGS expands.”

Vanguard Sciences will operate under the name SGS Vanguard Sciences. Antonacci and John Hayes, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will continue to lead the company.

In addition to Antonacci and Hayes, Vanguard Sciences has a large team of professionals both in its South Dakota and Oklahoma laboratories who will remain in their current capacities, enabling the new company to benefit from their food science qualifications and experience in food safety initiatives gained through multiple disciplines within the food industry. The current Vanguard North Sioux City offices and laboratory will continue to operate as the central hub for future company expansion through the SGS acquisition.

“This is a huge win for Vanguard, and we’re so pleased for their success,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “Phyllis has shared her knowledge of food safety with us through our annual summit, and she and I have worked closely together to ensure we’re connecting her business with all the resources available in our state, including connecting her with other businesses that can support her growth.”

As a member of South Dakota Biotech, Vanguard is able to secure significant savings on laboratory equipment and supplies through a partnership with Fisher Scientific, Johnson added.

“It’s such a terrific example of how we’re increasingly able to support businesses in our industry in a variety of ways,” she said. “We’re working hand-in-hand with our state economic developers, research parks and universities to identify similar startups and look at how we can support and strengthen them to become sustainable on their own or be acquired by major organizations like SGS. Vanguard proves in a big way that is entirely possible in South Dakota, and we are sure their success will continue here.”

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Swiss company acquires S.D. biotech firm

One of the world’s largest inspection, verification, testing and certification companies has acquired a thriving South Dakota-based bioscience company.

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