Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Start-up based on U New Mexico rapid cell screening technology acquired for $90M

By David Schwartz
Published: July 6th, 2016

German pharmaceutical company Sartorius AG has acquired a New Mexico startup that has developed a way for researchers and lab technicians to screen far more cells at a much faster rate. The start-up’s technology was licensed 10 years ago from the University of New Mexico, which will get an undisclosed share of the purchase price.

The $90 million deal for IntelliCyt is one of the largest acquisitions of a tech start-up from Albuquerque, where the company will continue to operate with its current 55-employee team.

The University of New Mexico (UNM) originally licensed the technology — a super fast cell meter, also known as a cytometer, that improves upon the speed of standard commercial cytometers by thirty to forty times. IntelliCyt’s product allows research labs to reduce the cost while significantly increasing the speed of cell screening.

“Novel screening methods are crucial to enable scientific progress in the fast-expanding research areas of immuno-oncology, antibody discovery and immune targets,” says Sartorius CEO Joachim Kreuzburg. “IntelliCyt has developed a powerful platform that integrates instruments, reagents and software seamlessly across the workflow. This is a great addition to our laboratory portfolio.”

Since licensing the technology from UNM in 2006, IntelliCyt has built itself into an established company, with $13.4 million in sales for 2015 and projections of $18 million in 2016. Though IntelliCyt began as a self-funded venture, now a number of local and out-of-state VC firms have invested in the company, while UNM holds a signifiant stake through the licensing contract with IntelliCyt.

“It’s a shining example of how many different parties and organizations it takes to have successful exits like this,” says Lisa Kuuttila, president and CEO of UNM’s tech transfer arm Science and Technology Corp. “Now much of the money that was invested will come back into the community to help build more promising projects. That’s how we build and grow our ecosystem.”

Source: NewsOK

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