Thursday, November 03, 2016
From Nothing To A Super-IPO In Only 10 Months - Cellink Is Making It Possible To 3D-Print Human Tissues And Organs
Via Business Insider: Cellink was founded in January 2016. Today was listed on Nasdaq First North, after a 1070% oversubscribed IPO - another success story from the Swedish tech scene - this one combining biotech and additive manufacturing. During the morning the price per share has risen 88% from SEK 26 to SEK 49 (at 10.30 a.m.), implying a total valuation of more than SEK 152 million (~$16.8 million). SEK 23 million (~$2.5 million) was raised through the IPO. Cellink's previous financing amounts to SEK 3.7 million (~ $470.000), but it made a net loss of SEK 250.000 (~$29,000) over the first nine months of its existence. "It's relatively common within biotech and lifescience that you go to the stockmarket early on. We already have technology on the market and revenues in the company, so we've come comparably far," Erik Gatenholm, co-founder and CEO of Cellink told Di Digital. 3D-printers that could print tissue were already a reality when Cellink was founded, but Erik Gatenholm's and Hector Martinez Avila's idea was to produce 'biological ink' that could be used in various printers to print different types of cell tissue. Having done that, Cellink's founders quickly discovered that the market for tissue-printing 3D-printers was far from saturated so Hector built a prototype for Cellink's own printer model and it turned out to be very cost efficient; you get your own for only $10.000. Cellink's business model mimics that of the conventional printer manufacturers. The stock market reaction to Cellink's IPO can be understood against the background of the combination of hot biotech and lifescience with a proven business model. Biotech companies often promise big future rewards for risky investments in R&D, whereas Cellink has been able to start selling its rpoduct right away. Cellink's has a business model that mimics that of conventional printer manufacturers: promoting sales of their ink by also selling the printing technology. Other Swedish additive manufacturing companies have opted for the same strategy. Höganäs AB got into the 3D-printing business to promote new applications for the company's main product, metal powder. Arcam, which was recently acquired by GE, went through the reverse process: first developing the 3D-printing technology and then aquiring the Canadian metal powder producer AP&C. It's a concept that feels reliable, but at the same time offers the excitement of biotech's seemingly unlimited possibilities. Cellink puts Sweden on the map for bioprinting. Cellink's affordable printers have already been bought by customers in 25 countries around the world, mostly universities in the US and Asia, but even some private customers. The current application for bioprinting is mostly research purposes. The stockmarket listing may seem surprising coming from such a newly founded company, but Cellink has been a success story throughout its short history. It was listed as a Superstartup by the Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer in May. In July, at the Serendipity Challenge at Almedalen, Gotland, it won the title of Startup of the Year. The dream is to be able to print human organs. "Out vision is to be able to print new human organs. We want to write the history of 3D-bioprinting and always be at the edge between science fiction and reality", Erik Gatenholm told Veckans Affärer in an interview. Printing replacement human organs is great of course, but a more interesting prospect is perhaps that of printing new types of tissues, and new types of organs, for non-human and non-medical applications. With the advancement of CRISPR technology it is pretty much possible to design your own genes, bacteria and cells. If Cellink's vision is realized it will be possible to print designer cell types in complex 3D configurations - to create all manner of biological machines. Cellink's inks currently cover a limited number of cell types and the printer can only print so many types in one project. A nose can be printed for example, it just needs skin and cartilege. More complex organs will be possible in the future but to get there Cellink needs to scale up. That's where the IPO comes into the picture. Co-founder Erik Gatenholm tells Di Digital that taking the step to stockmarket listing also has a lot to do with credibility. "As a small startup company, being able to tell clients that 'we're listed on Nasdaq' builds a lot of trust. It shows that we're serious", Erik Gatenholm tells DI Digital.