Axol Bioscience and Censo Biotechnologies have have signed a merger agreement. The combined entity aims to become a leading provider of product and service solutions in the iPSC-based neuroscience, immune cell, and cardiac modelling for drug discovery and screening markets. It will offer customers validated, ready-to-use cell lines and a suite of services with functional data and customisation capabilities, the companies say.
Axol’s investors include Dr Jonathan Milner and Calculus Capital, while Censo’s major investor is 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 is hoped to enable growth of the business and acquisition of talent to meet customer demand.
Under the terms of the agreement, Axol CEO, Liam Taylor, and the company’s 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 organisations from thriving start-ups to a more polished commercial entity that is able to meet aggressive demand increases.”