Cellink acquires MPG spin-off Scienion

The company expand its technology portfolio to include precision dispensing technologies

September 24, 2020

Cellink, the Swedish bioprinting company, has purchased Scienion AG, a spin-off of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics based in Berlin. The purchase price was 80 million euros. The Max Planck Society will now receive significant proceeds from the sale of its shares. Cellink intends to use the acquisition to drive future growth in industrial and clinical applications.

Founded in 2001, Scienion is a successful specialist in the sector for dispensing liquids in the nano and picoliter range. Using Scienion's dispensing systems, similar to an inkjet printer, customers can apply DNA, peptides, antibodies and proteins to carrier media in order to produce stretch marks, allergy tests, cancer diagnosis tools or biosensors for glucose measurements, for example. The price range for precision dispensing systems such is between 50,000 and several million euros, depending on the application. The patented technologies underlying the systems are based on the findings of the research group led by Hans Lehrach at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. 

The aim of the Cellink acquisition is to achieve further expansion in the fields of diagnostics and pharmacology. Cellink offers innovative bio-ink and 3D printer solutions that can be used to create human tissue in the laboratory. The company sees great synergies in Scienion's complementary product portfolio of industrial systems for high-precision dispensing of reagents and human cells. Such synergies should support future growth. According to CEO Erik Gatenholm, Cellink intends to use the strategic acquisition to realize its vision of shaping the future of medicine and thereby move one step closer to the clinic. Scienion will continue to exist as an independent company.

Economically successful

In addition to an attractive technology portfolio, Scienion also has an economic track record of considerable success. In 2019, the hidden champion generated revenues of 21.5 million euros. From the outset, Scienion was supported by Max Planck Innovation (MI), the Max Planck Society's technology transfer organization. This support included evaluating the business idea, business and financial planning as well as financing within the foundation process. In addition, MI was involved during further development of the company through many years of supervisory board activity.

“Max Planck Innovation has been very supportive in helping us commercialize our research through a spin-off. The revision of our business concept was the cornerstone of our commercial success. This new strategic orientation not only earned us first place in the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Award, it also helped us achieve our medium and long-term goals. MI has also been instrumental in helping us secure various rounds of financing through its own financial contributions, thereby helping us turn our research into products and services – which benefits medical research and many patients all over the world”, remarks Holger Eickhoff, co-inventor, founder and CEO of Scienion.

“We are pleased that Scienion has developed so well and has found a strong partner for further growth in Cellink, a listed company. We wish the company, its management and employees a successful future within a new strong group of companies,” says Ulrich Mahr, member of Max Planck Innovation management with responsibility for spin-off activities.

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