M&A hungry BioLife to buy cold-chain services firm SAVSU

Having gradually increased its stake in the cloud-based cold-chain management firm, BioLife Solutions will buy the remaining 56% of shares to bolster its cell and gene therapy offering.

Supplier of cell and gene therapy tools BioLife has been experiencing huge growth over the past few quarters (51% increase year-on-year for its Q1 2019, for example) due to the high demand for bio-preservation media and automated thawing products.

The firm has been looking to take advantage of the continued demand from the cell and gene therapy market and put its growing profits to use through M&A, and this week it has agreed to buy the remaining shares of SAVSU Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of cloud-connected passive storage and transport containers for temperature sensitive biologics and regenerative medicines.

Image: iStock/maxsattana

“SAVSU’s many innovations in shipper form factor, dynamic performance, actionable data and reduction of in-transit payload damage are being recognized and highly valued by a prestigious group of cell and gene therapy developers,” BioLife’s CEO Mike Rice said. “We welcome SAVSU to the growing family of technologies in our bioproduction tools portfolio.”

According to the firm, SAVSU has worked with over 50 cell and gene therapy companies through the supply of its evo precision shipping containers. This includes AveXis, the commercial stage gene therapy firm, which inked a supply agreement last November.

Increasing stakes

The deal, expected to close within 45 days, sees BioLife exercise its option to acquire the remaining 56% of the outstanding shares of SAVSU in exchange for 1.1 million shares of BioLife.

BioLife has gradually been upping its stake in SAVSU, and in September 2018 invested a further $5 million to increase its ownership from 31% to 44%.

All IP – 15 pending and issues US patents relating to cold-chain technology – will be transferred to BioLife, along with 23 employees and a facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This is the second acquisition by Biolife in the past few months after the firm bought Astero Bio Corporation – a firm focused on the design, development and commercialization of automated thawing devices – for $8 million (€7.1 million) in April.