CELLINK acquires precision dispensing 3D printing company Scienion in €80m agreement

Swedish 3D bioprinter and materials developer CELLINK has agreed to acquire precision dispensing 3D printing firm Scienion in a deal worth €80 million. 

The takeover, which is expected to take place by the end of August 2020, will see CELLINK pay €40 million in newly-issued shares, plus €40 million in cash for full control of Scienion. Through the acquisition, CELLINK aims to scale its business in order to increase its market penetration in the pharmaceutical field and expand into the diagnostics sector.

“We are excited to welcome Scienion to the CELLINK family of life-science companies with this strategic and synergistic acquisition,” said Erik Gatenholm, CEO of CELLINK. “With this acquisition, we are further realizing CELLINK’s vision to create the future of medicine by taking one step closer to the clinic and improving health around the world.”

“We are furthering CELLINK’s global commercial strategy by focusing on the patient by providing the most innovative solutions to our customers.”

CELLINK's acquisition of Scienion is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020. Photo via CELLINK.
CELLINK’s acquisition of Scienion is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020. Photo via CELLINK.

CELLINK’s additive expansion continues 

Established in 2016 and now based in Boston, USA, CELLINK is a global life-science business that provides 3D bioprinting technologies, products, and services. The company has more than 1,000 laboratories in 55 countries, enabling researchers to 3D print human organs and tissues for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. 

CELLINK manufactures and markets a range of 3D bioprinters, including the dual-extrusion INKREDIBLE system and the SLA-based Holograph X. The firm’s newest benchtop machine, the six-printhead BIO X6, allows the combination of multiple materials, cells, and tools. Featuring an exchangeable printhead system and the firm’s patented Clean Chamber Technology, the BIO X6 also encourages advanced research through cell production.

Having partnered with Pirellis Biologics and Volumetric to develop its Holograph X and BIO X systems, CELLINK has continued to collaborate in order to grow its technology base. In a project with French regenerative medicine business CTI BIOTECH, CELLINK’s printers were used to investigate new therapies for cancer patients. Working with aerospace firm Made in Space, the company has also investigated the potential applications of bioprinting onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Following its acquisition of Scienion, CELLINK is now taking a more direct route to expand its portfolio of technologies. By incorporating Scienion’s pico and nanoliter cell dispensing capabilities into its product range, CELLINK is aiming to reach new markets in the clinical therapeutic industry. 

By acquiring Scienion, CELLINK will add the firm's precision dispensing technologies (pictured) to its product portfolio. Photo via Scienion.
By acquiring Scienion, CELLINK will add the firm’s precision dispensing technologies (pictured) to its product portfolio. Photo via Scienion.

The €80 million 3D printing acquisition deal

CELLINK’s takeover of Scienion will be completed on a cash-and-debt-free basis. An initial €40 million in cash will be supplemented by a further €40M in the form of 2,814,032 consideration shares in CELLINK. The deal’s structure is considered mutually beneficial, offering Scienion shareholders the opportunity to retain influence in the firm, while CELLINK will only pay an initial cash fee of €40 million. 

As a percentage of votes and shares, Scienion shareholders will now hold 4.9 percent of the votes at CELLINK, along with 6.5 percent of the company’s share capital. The newly-issued shares are also covered by a lockdown agreement, meaning that they cannot be sold on for a total period of 30-36 months. 

“We are thrilled about the unique opportunities this combination will create for our customers worldwide, as well as our employees and business partners,” said Dr. Holger Eickhoff, CEO of Scienion. “Together, the CELLINK group and Scienion will be able to achieve rapid expansion while delivering the quality, brands, and products that our customers love.”

CELLINK’s board of directors was authorized to issue the consideration shares at the company’s Annual General Meeting. Given that the conference happened on December 18, 2019, CELLINK has been preparing to acquire Scienion for at least nine months. Following the deal’s conclusion at the end of August, CELLINK is considering raising additional equity through a single directed share issue, to continue funding its expansion. 

Synergy and success between CELLINK and Scienion 

Following the completion of the acquisition deal, Scienion will remain under the same management and branding. The agreement ties into CELLINK’s broader commercial strategy, of building on its product portfolio to support future growth in the pharmaceutical and therapeutic sectors. 

Scienion’s business model resembles that of CELLINK, and its products are marketed for companies in CELLINK’s target markets within the diagnostics and pharmaceutical sectors. Incorporating Scienion’s product range and R&D capabilities will also allow CELLINK to manage its manufacturing workflow from start to finish. Additionally, the firms have similar customer bases, so any future product releases can easily be marketed together. 

“Scienion has diligently built a globally leading position in the field of precision dispensing, creating a product portfolio with industrial systems that are capable of extremely precise dispensing of reagents and human cells,” concluded Gatenholm. “With Scienion’s revolutionary technology platforms, we will streamline workflows for our present and future customers, and enhance our presence in the clinical field.”

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Featured image shows Dr. Holger Eickhoff, CEO of Scienion and Erik Gatenholm, CEO of CELLINK, shaking hands on the companies’ acquisition agreement. Photo via CELLINK.