When research tool provider Invitrogen Corp. acquired instrument company Applied Biosystems Group in 2008, both companies derived the majority of their revenues from consumables. However, Invitrogen's historical strengths lay in the sample preparation and processing end of the laboratory workflow, while ABI's historical strengths lay at the other end, in instrumentation and reagents optimized for its own systems.

The merger's rationale was put to the test on April 23, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control asked the now renamed Life Technologies Corp. for help tracking and monitoring the outbreak of swine influenza. The agency had developed a swine influenza assay to run on the company's real-time PCR instrument.