Leading Swiss laboratory equipment manufacturer Hamilton Bonaduz AG buys Freiburg-based microfluidic technology company BioFluidix GmbH
BioFluidix GmbH, a spin-off resulting from the cooperation between Hahn-Schickard and the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg, is now part of the Swiss Hamilton Bonaduz AG
The strategic acquisition joins two complementary companies: Hamilton Bonaduz, a family-owned company with approximately 4,000 employees worldwide, develops and manufactures dispensing systems and laboratory equipment for research and medical applications. BioFluidix GmbH, with its patented microdispensing processes, is also active in these industries, but is able to precisely dispense liquid volumes up to 1,000 times smaller. As a result, BioFluidix brings microfluidic technologies to the Hamilton Group that can lead to innovative products and contribute to further miniaturization in laboratory automation.
BioFluidix GmbH was founded in 2005 by Professor Roland Zengerle, Professor Hermann Sandmaier and Dr. Peter Koltay on the basis of patents developed in collaboration between the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the Faculty of Engineering at the University Freiburg and Hahn-Schickard. Peter Koltay took over as managing director from 2005 to 2016 and established the company as a specialist in the field of microdosage technology through continuous, organic growth, from which cytena GmbH, also a Freiburg-based start-up, emerged in 2014.
“Hamilton has been a role model for us as a leader within the industry from the very beginning. The medical technology company is therefore the ideal partner for me to successfully continue BioFluidix. I am also very happy for the employees of BioFluidix, who will have improved framework conditions within the Hamilton Group to be able to develop further here at the Freiburg site,” says Peter Koltay.
In 2015, Dr. Andreas Ernst, a former PhD student of Prof. Zengerle, took over the management, which he holds today together with Dr. Nils Lass, another former PhD student. In the years that followed, they and the BioFluidix team were able to continuously increase both the degree of automation of the products and the turnover, so that BioFludix GmbH developed into a globally renowned specialist company.
“Hamilton became aware of our PipeJet technology several years ago, which resulted in several joint development projects. The chemistry was right from the start and we were able to achieve very good results together. We are therefore very pleased to now officially be part of the Hamilton family,” says Dr. Andreas Ernst, who will continue to share the company’s management together with Dr. Nils Lass.
In recent years, eight spin-offs have emerged from Hahn-Schickard and the Laboratory for MEMES Applications at the Faculty of Engineering under the leadership of Professor Roland Zengerle, which currently provide around 330 high-tech jobs in Freiburg. “With BioFluidix, we made the first attempt to transfer our research results into real products ourselves in 2005. We learned a great deal in the process and were able to keep improving the interplay between basic research and implementation,” recalls Roland Zengerle. As Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg and Institute Director at Hahn-Schickard, he is very encouraged: “With the sale to Hamilton, we have now succeeded in getting another world-renowned company to establish a research site in Freiburg and to further develop future microdosage technology at this site. Establishing high-tech companies in the vicinity of the University was the vision that many associated with the founding of the Faculty of Engineering had almost 30 years ago.”
BioFluidix is to be preserved and significantly expanded as an independent business unit and brand within the Hamilton Group. In addition, another Hamilton department on the topic of lab devices will be located in Freiburg at the Freiburg Innovation Center (FRIZ) on the campus of the Faculty of Engineering. The close contact with the 2,400 students and about 500 scientists there still offers a lot of potential for inspiration and innovation at the Campus Airport location.
About the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg
The Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) comprises 24 professorships, about 370 scientific staff and about 650 students. It is thus one of the world’s largest and leading academic research centers in the field of microsystems engineering. At the Laboratory for MEMS Applications headed by Roland Zengerle, interdisciplinary working groups are developing new tools for the life sciences. These technologies will enable faster diagnoses and more efficient therapies. In a strategic alliance with Hahn-Schickard, application-oriented solutions are being developed in the fields of microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip and electrochemical energy systems.
BioFluidix GmbH provides automation solutions for miniaturized liquid handling applications. It supplies the international market with patented non-contact medication dispensing technology, coating solutions, and laboratory equipment. The BioFluidix technology allows end customers to reduce dispensing quantities in life sciences research and industrial production and to increase throughputs, which leads to reduced costs.