TechLab, a medical device company founded by a group of Virginia Tech researchers in 1989, has been acquired by a private equity firm with plans to keep growing the Blacksburg-based business.
Co-founders Tracy Wilkins and David Lyerly previously sold 49 percent of the company to publicly-traded Alere in 2006.
On Monday, Texas-based Pharos Capital Group announced it bought Alere’s portion as well as an undisclosed percentage from the founders — enough to claim majority ownership.
No one would comment on the terms of the deal Tuesday, but SEC records show Alere estimated as recently as December 2015 that its 49 percent stake was worth about $13.3 million, up from the $8.8 it paid 10 years earlier.
But Wilkins said Tuesday — as he has several times over the years — it’s not about the money.
TechLab, which creates rapid tests for intestinal diseases, previously agreed to acquisition terms with a different buyer last year.
But Wilkins said he and Lyerly walked away at the last moment when they learned the unnamed buyer planned to move jobs from the region where all of the 130-person company’s research and manufacturing operations have been based for more than two decades.
A handful of TechLab employees told The Roanoke Times on Tuesday that they remember the would-be buyer coming in for a final walkthrough one day last summer. The next morning, they were told the founders canceled the sale and postponed their own windfall until they could find a buyer with intentions to keep everyone else on board…