Our History

  • 1952 to 1956

    In 1952, David and Alice Schwartz begin Bio-Rad in a 1,600-square-foot Quonset hut in Berkeley, California, offering life science products and services to identify, separate, purify, and analyze chemical and biological materials. Products introduced during this time include tobacco mosaic virus and analytical-grade ion exchange resins.

  • 1957

    Bio-Rad is incorporated.

  • 1958

    Bio-Rad moves its operation to Richmond, California.

  • 1964

    Bio-Gel® P gel chromatography media are introduced for separating proteins by molecular weight.

  • 1966

    Bio-Rad holds its Initial Public Offering and sells 40,000 shares at $3.50 a share. The company opens its first international office in Munich.

  • 1967

    Bio-Rad enters the clinical diagnostics market with the introduction of the T4 (thyroxine) thyroid function test, the first commercially available test to accurately measure the thyroid hormone T4. By the early 1970s, tests are developed for a variety of other diseases including cardiovascular disease, lead poisoning, and anemia, and the company's Clinical Diagnostics Group is formed.

  • 1972

    Electrophoresis grade chemicals are introduced to support reproducible protein separation and analysis.

  • 1974

    Bio-Rad introduces Aminex® HPX-87C high-pressure liquid chromatography columns.

  • 1975

    Bio-Rad acquires Environmental Chemical Specialties, adding quality controls to its product portfolio.

  • 1980

    Bio-Rad is listed on the American Stock Exchange.

  • 1981

    Bio-Rad introduces Macro-Prep® ion exchange resin for large-scale protein purification and also debuts a new logo, the same one that is used today.

  • 1982

    Bio-Rad introduces a hemoglobin A1c test for diabetes monitoring. Also in 1982, the company acquires Elfiplast, an Italian manufacturer of plastic products.

  • 1984

    The DIAMAT™ analyzer system is introduced to automate HbA1c determinations.

  • 1986

    Bio-Rad opens its first offices in Hercules, California.

  • 1987

    The Gene Pulser® system becomes the first commercially available apparatus used for transferring genes into cells. The Gene Pulser MXcell™ electroporation system (pictured) is today's successor to the early Gene Pulser instrument.

  • 1988

    Bio-Rad introduces the CHEF-DR® II pulsed field electrophoresis system, used to separate large fragments of DNA into clear patterns for analysis.

  • 1989

    Bio-Rad acquires Belgium-based Research Separations Laboratories, manufacturers of chromatographic materials.

  • 1990

    Bio-Rad introduces the REMEDi™ rapid emergency diagnostic system, an automated system used in drug profiling. Also in 1990, the Immunoblot HIV test, the first western blot confirmatory test for the AIDS antibody, is introduced.

  • 1991

    Bio-Rad introduces precast gels, reducing the bench time and labor required to perform routine protein and nucleic acid electrophoresis.

  • 1992

    The VARIANT™ hemoglobin testing system, used to screen for common hemoglobin disorders such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, is introduced.

  • 1993

    Bio-Rad introduces CHT™ ceramic hydroxyapatite media, used to purify biopharmaceuticals to create therapies and vaccines for a variety of diseases.

  • 1997

    The Biotechnology Explorer™ program is launched to offer science education programs for high school and college students. Bio-Rad unveils its website in the same year.

  • 1998

    Bio-Rad introduces the UNITY™ Quality Control data management software for clinical laboratories; the software allows multiple users to store, access, and share quality control data and documents within and between laboratory locations.

  • 1999

    Bio-Rad acquires Pasteur Sanofi Diagnostics, based in Marnes-la-Coquette, France. The acquisition broadens Bio-Rad's offerings with products for blood virus (HIV and hepatitis) testing and for microbiology and autoimmunity testing. Also in 1999, Bio-Rad enters the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) market with the iCycler® thermal cycler.

  • 2000

    Bio-Rad introduces a test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease).

  • 2003

    Norman Schwartz becomes president and CEO as David Schwartz steps down from these roles, though he remains as Chairman of the Board. In 2003, Bio-Rad also launches the D-10™ hemoglobin testing system.

  • 2004

    In 2004, Bio-Rad acquires MJ Research, a company well known for its innovative thermal cycling products. Bio-Rad also adds the Hematronix line of quality control products to its portfolio. Also in 2004, Bio-Rad launches the Experion™ automated electrophoresis system.

  • 2005

    Bio-Rad launches the BioPlex® 2200 system, the first fully automated random access multiplex testing system to generate multiple results from a single patient sample.

  • 2006

    Bio-Rad launches the ProteOn™ XPR36 protein interaction array system, which detects and quantifies up to 36 simultaneous molecular interactions.

  • 2007

    Bio-Rad acquires DiaMed, a manufacturer of blood typing and screening reagents and instruments, introduces siLentMer™ targeted gene silencing technology, and launches the point-of-care in2it™ A1c analyzer, which delivers A1c results in minutes in a physician's office. David Schwartz receives the Pittcon Heritage Award.

  • 2008

    Bio-Rad launches next-generation PCR instruments including 1000-series thermal cyclers and CFX real-time PCR detection systems as well as the Criterion Stain-Free™ gel imaging system, which eliminates staining and destaining steps and enables researchers to visualize protein samples in as few as 2½ minutes after electrophoresis. Bio-Rad stock is first traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • 2009

    Bio-Rad receives U.S. FDA clearance for ToRC IgG and HSV-1 and HSV-2 IgG kits on the BioPlex® 2200 Multiplex System.

  • 2010

    Bio-Rad introduces its IH-1000, an automated blood screening system, to markets outside the U.S. Also that year, the company launches its TGX™ precast gels as well as the TC10™ automated cell counter.

  • 2011

    Bio-Rad launches antiphospholipid syndrome IgG, IgM, and IgA kits for its BioPlex® 2200 system and also acquires QuantaLife and Droplet Digital™ PCR technology, subsequently introducing the QX100™ Droplet Digital PCR system.

  • 2012

    Bio-Rad co-founder, David Schwartz, 88, passes away in April.

  • 2012

    In August, Bio-Rad launches its Digital Biology Center to develop products for the research and diagnostics markets based on the company's Droplet Digital™ PCR technology.

  • 2013

    In January, Bio-Rad acquires AbD Serotec, a leading antibody manufacturer.

  • 2013

    In June, Bio-Rad introduces the S3™ cell sorter, an automated benchtop cell sorter.

  • 2014

    In April, Bio-Rad Acquires GnuBIO, developer of droplet-based DNA sequencing technology.

  • 2015

    Bio-Rad announces the launch of the IH-500, a fully automated random access system for blood typing and screening, providing small and medium-size transfusion medicine laboratories fast and reliable results in a 24/7 environment. The IH-500 system is available in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Latin America.

  • 2016

    In the fall, Bio-Rad announces that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its IH-1000 blood typing instrument along with approvals for a wide range of associated gel cards and reagents for the U.S. blood typing market.

  • 2017

    Bio-Rad acquires RainDance Technologies, Inc. that offers a foundational intellectual property portfolio and product lines that encompass a wide range of biological reactions in droplets, with applications in life science research and clinical research.

  • 2018

    Bio-Rad awarded a contract for iQ-Check real-time PCR pathogen detection test kits and the iQ-Check Prep Automation System from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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