CELLINK to Acquire German Startup cytena for 30 Million Euros

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Bioprinting company CELLINK announced it has entered into an agreement with the owners of life science company cytena GmbH, of Germany, to acquire all of the company shares for a purchase price of 30.25 million euros (33.8 million dollars) in cash and stock. With the acquisition of cytena, CELLINK could extend its growth phase, and although it is already a leading player in the bioprinting business, there’s a wide variety of other smaller companies that could be acquired attractively and add to its growth. Through cytena’s complimentary technology offering, CELLINK sees great synergies that will support and accelerate their future growth. While cytena customers and partners will obtain benefits in the extended product offering and a stronger global presence.

“We are excited to welcome cytena to the CELLINK family of life-science companies with this strategic acquisition,” suggested Erik Gatenholm, CEO and co-founder of CELLINK. “We are furthering CELLINK’s global commercial strategy by focusing on the pharmaceutical industry and providing the most innovative solutions to researchers around the world. With cytena’s revolutionary technology platforms, we will streamline workflows for our present and future customers, and enhance our presence in the pharmaceutical industry, a strategy that is well-aligned with our vision. Together with Dispendix and cytena, we will be well-positioned to offer comprehensive solutions for both academic and pharmaceutical customers worldwide.”

Founded in 2014, Freiburg-based cytena is a biotech startup that develops a patented single-cell printer technology, which allows for the isolation of single cells in a documented, gentle, and sterile way, enabling researcher to isolate cells for cell line development and to build microtissues faster and more reproducibly. Most of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world use the company’s single-cell printers to manufacture biologicals, such as antibodies. The cytena family of single-cell printers consists of laboratory devices for handling and sorting individual viable cells. Created out of the Institute for Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg, cytena has recently raised 3 million euros in Series A funding led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). The new capital has been used to continue developing the company’s single-cell printer lab technology, expand sales activities, and tap into the potential of new applications more quickly.

The deal is in line with CELLINK’s commercial strategy, strengthening its product offering and providing a more complete 3D cell culturing solution. cytena’s products are most suitable for pharmaceutical companies, an area, and market which CELLINK has communicated interest in expanding further into so that with this acquisition, it aims to increase market penetration in the pharmaceutical field. For three years, CELLINK has been supplying 3D bioprinters, pioneering bioinks, rapid dispensers, live-cell imaging systems for developing and commercializing bioprinting technologies to allow researchers to print human tissues for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications and 3D cell culture models.

CELLINK CEO Erik Gatenholm and cytena CEO Jonas Schoendube during the acquisition agreement

Jonas Schoendube, cytena CEO, said “we are extremely looking forward to being part of the CELLINK family. In CELLINK we have found a great partner, who shares our vision for the company and will help us to further accelerate cytena’s growth. We see interesting synergies in marketing, sales as well as research and development between all four group member companies: cytena GmbH in Germany, cytena Bioprocess Solutions Co. Ltd. in Taiwan, CELLINK in Sweden and the US, as well as Dispendix GmbH in Germany. Our customers and partners will benefit from an extended product offering and a stronger global presence.”

The acquisition agreement stipulates that CELLINK will acquire cytena for 11.4 million euros in cash and 674,678 newly issued shares valued at 18.9 million euros. The transaction will give cytena’s shareholders 5.14 percent of the voting power and 6.9 percent of CELLINK share capital. The purchase price corresponds to a total enterprise value of approximately 27.45 million euros for cytena on a cash–and debt-free basis. Following the acquisition’s completion and the transfer of cytena shares, which is expected to take place on August 6, the startup will retain its current management and will be consolidated in CELLINK’s financial statements for approximately three weeks during the firm’s fourth-quarter 2018/2019. CELLINK also expects that the German-based firm will have a turnaround of approximately 4.5 million euros in 2019, which compared to the 3 million euros of 2018 is quite a recovery.

CELLINK and cytena meet and greet

This is not CELLINK’s first acquisition of a German startup: in 2018, the company acquired biodispensing tech firm Dispendix GmbH for 5 million euros, furthering developments in the pharmaceutical industry. Mergers and acquisitions are certainly happening in the industry, changing the value of the business to shareholders, owners, and other stakeholders, creating synergies and enabling greater market opportunities. With so much on the works in bioprinting, this type of deals might hold big promises for the future.

[Images: CELLINK and cytena]

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