InnoCyte GmbH has won three renowned investors for their cause: In a first round of financing, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft (MBG) – within the framework of the Seedfonds Baden-Württemberg – and Fraunhofer Venture have increased the capital of the young GmbH by a high six-figure amount. The goal is to push growth and further advance the technology.

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.“

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