bioMérieux UK Ltd

A company’s history gives a firm insight into the spirit and identity of what they are today. Learn how bioMérieux UK Ltd gained their experience, knowledge and commitment.

When did bioMérieux UK Ltd come into being?

bioMérieux UK Ltd was established in 1989 after the acquisition of VITEK Inc. by bioMerieux S.A when the 2 UK based companies, api-bioMérieux Ltd. and VITEK Systems Ltd were merged.  Resulting in an interesting combination of gold standard expertise in microbiology and in-depth knowledge in automation.

Malcolm Walpole (left), 1st Managing Director of bioMérieux UK Ltd

What were the specialties of VITEK Systems Ltd?

Based in Henley on Thames its business was mainly in industrial laboratories. They commercialized 2 main systems:

  • Bactometer®, a highly successful rapid detection and enumeration system for microorganisms in food, was popular in the dairy industry.
  • VITEK®, for microorganism identification, used in pharmaceutical companies had not yet been adopted by UK clinical laboratories despite attempts to introduce it since the mid-70s.


Did you know?
The 1st VITEK system for clinical routine testing was in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, where the Consultant Microbiologist Dr. Arthur Deacon saw the benefits since he had previously experienced in his native country, New Zealand.

What were the specialities of Api-bioMérieux?

A rapidly growing company, it was built on the acquisition of api® Ltd by bioMérieux S.A. They commercialised the gold standard api identification systems for microbial identification. 

VIDAS in the UK?

In 1991, the world famous VIDAS® system was introduced to labs. Based on a revolutionary immunoassay concept, it used pre-filled and characterised reagent strips for single or batch testing. processing on a near random-access basis. The VIDAS family of instruments is a worldwide success resulting in 28,000 systems now in routine use.

Did you know?
The 1st VIDAS analyser was adopted at North Middlesex Hospital, initially mainly for Chlamydia testing. There are now well over 200 systems in clinical and industrial UK labs. The latter running pathogen 

Significant acquisitions

The most significant acquisition in terms of organisation and products was that of Organon Teknika in 2001. As a result of merging the UK companies Stephen Jacques of OT became Managing Director. He steered the integration of the teams and product ranges to include amongst others the BacT/Alert® blood culture system.

Since 2001 bioMérieux has acquired further companies which have brought new capabilities and technologies to the group:

  • Bacterial Barcodes Inc. with the DiversiLab® genotyping system
  • AB BIODISK with the Etest® range
  • Argene® with a range of PCR assays for transplant monitoring and respiratory infection diagnosis
  • AES with the ‘blue’ series of microbiological instrumentation
  • BioFire Inc. with the revolutionary FilmArray® multi-array system for rapid (1 hr) detection of infectious agents from respiratory, gastro-intestinal and blood culture specimens.

major and successful microbiology collaborations include:

  • Shimadzu providing state-of-the-art MALDI-TOF technology with the most powerful database for microbial identification, combined in the VITEK® MS system


bioMérieux UK today

The bioMerieux UK team continues to strive to provide the most appropriate solutions and excellent service to its customers in clinical and industrial laboratories.  The UK organisation consists of about 120 people today, supporting over 1700 instruments in the field and supplying over 1000 clinical and industrial customers in the UK and Ireland.  We are the leading supplier of microbiology products and systems in both fields.


Experience at your service

The bioMérieux 50 design decorates the UK entrance

In 2012 bioMérieux UK Ltd celebrated 40 years since the establishment of its first ancestor in the UK, which was API Ltd. Last year was a worldwide celebration of 50 years since bioMérieux was first set up by Alain Merieux, and every subsidiary marked the year with activities and a photo competition.

bioMérieux UK will celebrate their 50th year in 2022!



Pioneering Diagnostics