Cell Culture Made Easy
InnoCyte GmbH Finds Further Investors
InnoCyte GmbH has developed a technology that standardizes, automates, accelerates and therefore significantly simplifies and reduces the cost of producing biological cells. The cell production as such is a key process in biological and medical research, for example in the development of medication ("pharma screening") or when creating artificial tissue ("tissue engineering"). Until today, cell production has been cumbersome manual work, prone to errors, slow and expensive. At the same time, the validity of cell-based test series and the safety of artificial tissue depend above all on reproducibility of the cell material. In the future, the technology developed by InnoCyte is supposed to allow the approximately 40,000 cell culture labs worldwide to handle the central routine process of "passage" with a fraction of the familiar effort.
"Our device that we called Split.It is a stand-alone bench top device that fits on any laboratory table", says Dr. Michael Fritsche, an experienced molecular biologist supporting product development. "It is cost effective, precise, requires almost no maintenance and will facilitate the work on cells, if not revolutionize it", Dr. Fritsche explains further. This opinion was also shared by Fraunhofer Venture, who supported the idea for the foundation from the start. "We have always been convinced that our spin-off from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation IPA with automated cell production would meet with significant demand. Therefore we already supported the foundation of InnoCyte GmbH and are now particularly pleased with the successful financing round", says Matthias Keckl of Fraunhofer Venture.
Split.It will enter the market in the summer of 2013. Over the next few years, Split.It is supposed to successively add various further devices focusing on automated cell cultures, resulting in a complete family of products. Dr. Matthias Dill, investment manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds, is convinced: "With individual networking of coordinated individual devices, a comprehensive process chain can be implemented that maintains the necessary flexibility of the lab, while at the same time ensuring reproducibility of the cell production." Therefore the technology makes it possible to increase the throughput and result quality of the cell culture lab while keeping personnel and infrastructure costs low.
InnoCyte GmbH was founded in the summer of 2011, followed by development of a "proof of principle", brand and patent applications, trade show appearances, several successful competition entries, development of a business plan - and the daily work to develop a device ready for serial production. In the fall of 2012, High-Tech Gründerfonds and MBG were won over as investors.
"The right time has come to go public", says Roland Huchler, managing director and founder of InnoCyte. "We thank our investors and look forward to the next steps that can now be implemented according to the business plan."
About Fraunhofer Venture
Founding a company is not easy, even once researchers have developed an innovative idea or an exciting technology. There are many things that need to be thought out and prepared well. As a partner of spin-offs of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer Institutes, industry and investors, Fraunhofer Venture supports scientists in the Fraunhofer environment on their path to founding their own technology enterprise. The range of services covers the areas of technology, foundation, financing and investment management. Since 1999, over 200 companies in the areas of life science/medicine, energy and environment, information and communication, production and processes, microelectronics, transportation and logistics, materials and photonics have been founded successfully.
About MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg GmbH
MBG invests in small and medium sized companies across different industries headquartered in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The amounts invested range from €25,000 up to €2,5 million. MBG offers everything from seed investments to start-up financing all the way to growth financing for established companies.
MBG is a publicly funded holding company. It works closely with the guarantor bank Bürgschaftsbank Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH and is supported by the State of Baden-Württemberg and by the Federal Government.
About Seedfonds BW
Seedfonds BW cooperates with High-Tech Gründerfonds to support young technology companies headquartered in Baden-Wuerttemberg during the early founding or seed phase by providing venture capital. In addition to the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Ministry of Finance and Economy) , the investors of Seedfonds BW are the L-Bank, LBBW Venture Capital GmbH and MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg GmbH.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as fourteen industrial groups of ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 565,5 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 293,5 million HTGF II).