$50m deal helps make Sartorius a media player again

A year after ending an exclusive collaboration with Lonza for cell culture media and buffers, Sartorius has reentered the space by acquiring 50% of Israeli firm Biological Industries

The deal sees bioprocess equipment and consumables vendor Sartorius pay €45 million ($50 million) in cash to Kibbutz Beit Haemek and private equity fund Fortissimo Capital for just over half of Biological Industries.

Under terms of the deal, Sartorius will have the option to acquire a further 20% of the Haifa, Israel-based cell culture media developer and manufacturer within the next three years.

Image: iStock/Hakat

CEO Joachim Kreuzburg said the acquisition “significantly” expands Sartorius’s cell culture media offering, something he has hoped to do since a shift in the arrangement between Sartorius and contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza left his firm lacking access to an exclusive cell culture and buffer supply.

For six years, Sartorius was granted the exclusive supply and distribution of Lonza’s media and buffers, used in the manufacture of protein-based therapeutics and vaccines, but in November 2018 the terms changed.

According to an investor presentation from September 2018, Sartorius trail behind Thermo Fisher, (Merck) MilliporeSigma, and GE Healthcare in the cell culture media space.

Earlier this year, Kreuzburg stressed his desire to build its own cell culture media business. “We are working on potential ways to build up a more or less fully-owned sales culture media business within our portfolio,” he told investors in January, after reporting the area is high growth within the life sciences space for the firm.

“We still have access to sales culture media from Lonza so we are able to serve our customers. There is no rush that we are in here, but I could definitely imagine that in the long or mid-term we will build up one way or other in [our] sales culture media business.”

Founded in 1981, Biological Industries employs around 130 people and is expected to pull in revenues of around €25 million this year.

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