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Bruker's $108 Million Deal: Pioneering Single-Cell Biology with PhenomeX

On August 17, 2023, Bruker Corporation, a leading US-based maker of scientific instruments and diagnostics solutions, made a strategic leap into single-cell biology by announcing its acquisition of PhenomeX, a notable player in the field. This acquisition, valued at $108 million in an all-cash deal, is scheduled to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2023, with Bruker purchasing PhenomeX shares at an attractive $1.00 per share. This price represents a significant 150% premium over PhenomeX's closing stock price of $0.40 just one day before the announcement. Following this announcement, shares of Bruker were down by 2% at $64.45, though PhenomeX’s stock jumped by 60%.

A strategic motive underpins Bruker's decision to acquire PhenomeX. The company seeks to enter the rapidly expanding single-cell biology research market, projected to reach a substantial $7.1 billion by 2028, boasting a CAGR of 15.3%. The increasing global prevalence of cancer, where single-cell analysis plays a pivotal role in identifying cancer-associated biomarkers, drives the growth of this sector.

PhenomeX, established earlier this year through the merger of two cell biology research giants, Berkeley Lights and IsoPlexis, has swiftly established itself as a notable presence in the cell biology field. Through this acquisition, Bruker would be well-positioned to expand its customer portfolio in the biopharma and academic segments by leveraging PhenomeX’s existing customer base, consisting of the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies and 85% of the leading US comprehensive cancer centres. Furthermore, PhenomeX boasts an expansive intellectual property estate of more than 600 patents in single-cell biology, giving the company an edge unmatched by its competitors in the market. This further enhances the value of the deal.

While PhenomeX reported a net loss of $50.2 million in the second quarter of 2023, attributed primarily to a slowdown in large capital purchases within the research lab industry, the acquisition offers substantial potential for Bruker. PhenomeX's offerings—the Beacon Optofluidic platform and the IsoLight and IsoSpark proteomics barcoding platforms—are utilised by researchers and academics for advanced single-cell analysis and automated multiplexed protein measurements in translational research. Post-acquisition, these high-value and differentiated products are expected to seamlessly complement Bruker's spatial biology research portfolio, which has the potential to expand its product offerings in the single-cell biology segment and accelerate its long-term revenue growth, per the company’s Project Accelerate 2.0 strategy.

To conclude, this strategic deal opens opportunities for Bruker Corporation in single-cell biology tools. By leveraging PhenomeX’s cutting-edge technology, the buyer can unlock new insights into the rapidly growing markets of antibody therapeutics, cell line development, cell therapy, and gene therapy.

Written by: Mehak Mahajan

Sources: Yahoo Finance, Reuters, Bruker Press Release, Fierce Biotech, MedTech Dive, Bruker Annual Report 2022

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