CELLINK parent firm rebranded BICO, reports over 600% acquisition-led growth in H1 2021

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

The parent company of 3D bioprinting firm CELLINK has rebranded itself ‘BICO’ and revealed that its net sales grew by more than 600% during H1 2021. 

According to BICO’s financials, the firm brought in $48 million over the course of H1 2021, $39.1 million more than it reported in the equivalent period of 2020. BICO attributes its increased revenue to “positive demand” from its recurring clientele, as well as the wider install base it has amassed from its acquisition-led growth strategy, which led its consumable sales to rise to 23% of its total income in Q2 2021.

In addition to its name change, BICO or ‘BIo-COnvergence,’ has undergone a restructuring to streamline its operations, but its CELLINK bioprinting division will continue to trade under its existing brand. On the stock market, the firm’s ticker has also changed to ‘BICO,’ although its shares have remained flat following the publication of its results, despite the rapid growth it has achieved since last year. 

“Our business has been transformed in recent years, which is due to acquisitions and the fact that we have grown both in terms of volume and product mix,” said Erik Gatenholm, CEO and President of BICO. “We continue to invest for future growth, which can be seen in acquisition-related costs, costs related to the name change, group-wide systems and innovative product development.”

A scientist using a CELLINK 3D bioprinter.
CELLINK will now operate as one of eleven subsidiaries under the ‘BICO’ umbrella. Image via CELLINK.

BICO’s H1 2021 financials

Since last year, BICO has changed the way it reports its financials, from a structure in which the FY started in September and ended in August, to one that coincides with the calendar year. As a result, the company’s H1 2021 results are difficult to contextualize exactly, but the company has done its best to recalculate its figures, introducing a ‘Q5’ into last year and conducting a 4:1 split on its earnings per share.

Of the 626% net sales growth generated between H1 2020 and H1 2021, BICO says that 79% of this was organic, thus not directly related to the income generated by its recent acquisitions. However, much of this revenue increase was driven by the firm’s consumable offering, which was able to bring in $8.8 million during H1 2021, 491% more than they generated in H1 2020, due to the company’s broader footprint.

In terms of the company’s bottom line, it also reported a net loss of $11 million during H1 2021, a rise of 60% on the equivalent period of 2020. According to Gatenholm, BICO’s losses relate to the cost of its acquisitions over the first half of the year, as well as its wider rebranding and product R&D expenditure. 

Financials ($) Q2 2020Q2 2021Difference (%) H1 2020H1 2021Difference (%) 
Net Profit/Loss-0.6m-5.8m-867-4.4m-11m-60
Gross Margin (%) 7069-17372-1
Net Sales4.6m33.4m+6268.9m48m+439

Going from CELLINK to BICO

During H1 2021, what was CELLINK and is now BICO, continued executing its broader ‘bio convergence’ strategy, through which it aims to buy other biotechnology firms, harness any synergies and achieve medicinal breakthroughs. 

With this in mind, the firm acquired the MatTek Corporation during March, in a move that has since seen it inherit in-vitro technologies, which could advance its research into cruelty-free testing models. BICO also bought Nanoscribe for €50 million in May 2021, providing it with a means of producing more lifelike soft tissues, and potentially reducing lead times and costs across its product portfolio. 

The company’s expansion throughout H1 2021, which also saw it buy Discover Echo and Visikol, followed its earlier purchase of Scienion for €80 million in August 2020, and took its total number of subsidiaries to eleven. In order to manage these subsidiaries effectively, and take advantage of their potential synergies, the group’s leadership has therefore decided to reorganize them under its new BICO umbrella. 

CELLINK's acquisition of Scienion is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020. Photo via CELLINK.
It’s now nearly a year since CELLINK completed its acquisition of Scienion. Photo via CELLINK.

Moving forwards, BICO will now operate three business segments: Bioprinting, Biosciences and Bioautomation, through which it says “researchers will work to improve people’s health and lives for the better.” In particular, the company is targeting the development of safe organ transplants, animal testing substitutes, cheaper diagnostic tools and more affordable and patient-specific medicines. 

Under this new structure, the firm says that its bioprinting business will be known as ‘CELLINK Bioprinting,’ and like the rest of BICO’s subsidiaries, it’ll continue to trade independently, only now it should be able to move more rapidly and work closely with other segments, to establish itself as the “industry leader in 3D bioprinting.” 

“As the company has continued to grow, we saw [an opportunity] to make radical change in the industry with just one product,” concluded Gatenholm. “We realized that our customers needed more and better technologies, products and solutions to create change. I’m proud to introduce BICO to the world, and look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of science to create the future of health.”

“In five years, we have built a world-leading group that offers something truly unique – a bio convergence revolution.”

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows a scientist using a CELLINK 3D bioprinter. Image via CELLINK.