• Biotech sector-leaders combine tools, talent, and technologies to drive life science discovery forward
  • Merger accompanied by £3.8million ($5.3m USD) investment across existing shareholders and new investors, which will be used to fund recruitment and growth of the business

Axol Bioscience Ltd, an established provider of stem cells produced from reprogrammed human blood and tissue cells, and CENSO Biotechnologies, a cell biology CRO, today announced that they have signed a merger agreement. The new entity will become a leading provider of product and service solutions in the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based neuroscience, immune cell, and cardiac disease modelling, drug discovery and screening within pharma and biotechnology companies.

The transaction is accompanied by a fundraising round in excess £3.8m led by existing Axol Bioscience investor, Calculus Capital and CENSO Biotechnologies’ backer, Par Equity. Dr Jonathan Milner, who co-founded Axol Bioscience in 2012, is also participating in the round. The investment will be used to enable growth of the business and acquisition of talent to meet customer demand.

Under the terms of the agreement, Axol Bioscience CEO, Liam Taylor, and the Axol 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 a non-executive director of the combined board.

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, 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 complimentary 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 organizations from thriving start-ups to a more polished commercial entity that is able to meet aggressive demand increases.”

Daniela Tsoneva, Investment Lead at Calculus Capital, said: “We are delighted to continue our support for Axol Bioscience. The company has built a good reputation in the market and has attracted an experienced senior leadership team capable of taking the combined group through the next stage of its development. CENSO’s operational excellence enhances the group’s scale-up strategy and scientific capability. The combined entity will be in a strong position to establish itself as a global leader in iPSC supply and innovation.”

For further information about Axol’s products and services, please visit: https://www.axolbio.com