Axol Bioscience and Censo Biotechnologies Announce Merger
· iPSC industry-leaders combine tools, talent, and technologies to drive life science discovery forward
· Merger accompanied by £3.8million ($5.3m USD) investment across shareholders, which will be used to fund recruitment and growth of the business
Cambridge, UK 17 March 2021: Axol Bioscience Ltd, an established provider of iPSC-derived cells, media, and characterization services, and CENSO Biotechnologies, a cell biology CRO with focused expertise in iPSC-related technologies, today announced that the two companies have signed a merger agreement. The new entity will become a leading provider of product and service solutions in the iPSC-based neuroscience, immune cell, and cardiac modeling for drug discovery and screening markets. It will offer customers validated ready-to-use cell lines and a suite of services with broader expertise, robust functional data, and customization capabilities, all with shorter lead times.
Axol Bioscience’s investors include Dr Jonathan Milner and award-winning EIS fund manager, Calculus Capital. CENSO Biotechnologies’ major investor is leading Edinburgh-based EIS fund manager, Par Equity. The transaction, effective today, is accompanied by a fundraising round in excess £3.8m, led by Calculus Capital and Par Equity. The investment will be used to enable growth of the business and acquisition of talent to meet customer demand.
Under the terms of the agreement, Axol Bioscience CEO, Liam Taylor, and the Axol senior leadership team will take over the management of the combined entity, with the intent to migrate the brand to Axol Bioscience. The agreement sees CENSO’s interim CEO, Dr Tom Stratford, appointed non-executive director of the combined board, on behalf of Par Equity.
Liam Taylor, CEO Axol, said: “Axol has experienced a rapid increase in demand for their iPSC-based products and services over the last three years. Merging with CENSO immediately and significantly grows our scientific team and breadth of expertise. That, and the addition of two sites for iPSC-derived cell line manufacturing and custom service work, will increase our production capacity and future-proof our organization to ensure demand can continue to be met with the short lead times and quality that our customers depend on.”
Dr Tom Stratford, CENSO interim CEO and non-executive director of the combined board, on behalf of Par Equity said: “CENSO’s strength is our scientific team, as trusted partners in designing, executing, and managing custom project work. The combined entity will now be able to leverage Axol’s strength in iPSC-derived cells as well as complementary services such as electrophysiology to further our ability and efficiency to serve customers. We bring to bear capabilities, bandwidth, and expertise to scale the manufacturing of those tools in a way that benefits both customer bases and the wider market.”
Dr Jonathan Milner, founder, and former CEO of Abcam and chairman of the Axol Bioscience board, said: “Consolidating these two players in the iPSC space that have complementary expertise and offerings is the most direct and low risk path to gaining a more competitive market position and moving both organizations from thriving start-ups to a more polished commercial entity that is able to meet aggressive demand increases.”
For further information please contact:
Tel: +1 904-217-2951
Dr Ben Rutter
Tel: +44 (0)7920 770 935
About Axol Bioscience www.axolbio.com
Axol Bioscience Ltd has been an industry leader for nearly a decade in the supply of human iPSC-derived cells from healthy and disease-state donors. Those products are supported and enhanced by optimized cell culture systems and media formulations that ensure quality, consistent cell behaviors, and expedited maturation. In addition, Axol is an experienced provider of custom services for disease modeling and toxicity screening to support drug discovery.
To best serve a growing drug discovery customer base, Axol continues to add in-demand assay capabilities to better characterize product cell lines and provide custom services. Most recently, Axol added electrophysiology capability and expertise with an in-house multi-electrode array system and a dedicated scientific thought leader in the area to guide customers and collaborators through relevant data sets for the best disease or functional cell models for their applications.
About Calculus Capital www.calculuscapital.com
Calculus is a multi-award winning VCT and EIS fund manager. It received two Outstanding Contribution awards at the EIS Association 25th Anniversary Awards in 2019. It was voted Best EIS Investment Manager at the 2018 Growth Investor Awards. It has been named Best EIS Fund Manager five times at the EIS Association Awards and won Best Generalist EIS 2017/18 at the Investment Week Tax Efficiency Awards. It launched the UK’s first approved EIS fund in 1999 and has 20-year track record of investing in genuine UK growth companies.
Calculus has unparalleled experience of working with smaller UK companies to support their growth, development, scale-up and exit. It manages the multi-sector Calculus EIS Fund and Calculus VCT, as well as the UK Content Creation EIS Fund, which was launched in association with the BFI to deliver vital equity funding to the UK’s most promising content creation companies
Calculus Capital is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.www.calculuscapital.com
About Par Equity
Par Equity is a leading venture capital firm, based in Edinburgh, investing in innovative, high growth technology companies in the North of the UK. Since it was founded in 2008, Par Equity has invested more than £84m across 61 companies, leveraging a further £135m of capital from third party investors. Par’s investment focus is on enterprise technologies, and more specifically “deep tech”, i.e., companies with strong IP and technical expertise, including innovation across AI, photonics, energy storage, sensors, advanced materials, and nanotechnologies. The portfolio includes other rising stars like Current Health, Integrated Graphene, Qikserve, Cumulus and Novosound. Par’s investment approach is to combine the professionalism and rigour of a venture capital manager with the skills and expertise of a broad base of individual investors who can add value throughout the investment life cycle. This investment approach has produced strong and consistent returns across 22 realisations to date, gaining UK wide recognition. Most recently Par won the “Highly Commended” award in the Best EIS Fund Manager category at the 2020 EIS Association Awards.
About Jonathan Milner