Bruker takes over HTGF startup Sierra Sensors, rounding off the pharmaceutical research portfolio

Sierra Sensors’ biosensor technologies will from now on be distributed worldwide.

Thanks to its innovative, patented sensor technologies, a portfolio company in the High-Tech Gründerfond (HTGF) has reached market maturity: USA’s Bruker Corporation has taken over Hamburg startup Sierra Sensors GmbH. Sierra Sensors develop and distribute biosensor-based analytical tools and materials for pharmaceutical research. In addition, the company combines innovative microfluidic (Hydrodynamic Isolation ™) with high-sensitivity Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR+) for measuring molecular binding kinetics.

Sierra Sensors’ innovative biosensors are based upon the Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) method. Their MASS-2 instrument can examine thousands of microfluidic samples a day with excellent sensitivity, thus measuring the specifity, affinity, kinetic rates and thermodynamic molecular interactions. Sierra Sensors’ patented technologies are setting a new standard in high-throughput analysis and mark-free high-performance analysis. Combined with innovative microfluidics, real-time array SPR+ can accelerate pharmaceutical research.

New dimensions for pharmaceutical research

The Bruker Corporation develops and distributes high-performance scientific instruments and high-quality analytical and diagnostic solutions for scientists. The takeover is a strategic addition of the biopharma solutions portfolio. Sierra Sensors’ devices expand the portfolio of mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography systems for pharmaceutical research. For Bruker, Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) technology is an addition to their MALDI PharmaPulse® ultra high throughput screening (UHTS) mass spectrometry solution for large-scale primary and secondary screens.

With this takeover, Bruker aims to distribute this product worldwide while making Hamburg their new competence centre for further product and application development. “The combination of Sierra Sensors’ creative energy and highly innovative systems and Bruker’s distribution network and longstanding experience offers a fantastic added-value for life scientists, and will pioneer new opportunities for the development of effective medicines at lower costs”, explains Dr Michael Brandkamp, Managing Director of High-Tech Gründerfonds.

Dr Brandkamp supervised the Sierra Sensors investment on behalf of Dr Caroline Fichtner, and represented HTGF during the exit negotiations. He was convinced by the investment’s potential from the get-go, and considers it visionary. He sees the takeover as a huge success: “Now scientists throughout the world will have a tool at their disposal that will aid the research and development of improved treatments and medicines – and in doing so, improve the quality of life for people and find answers to the medical challenges that lie ahead.”

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start- ups. With EUR 892,5 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million in HTGF I, EUR 304 million in HTGF II and EUR 316,5 million for HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge 500 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemicals and life sciences.
This group also includes a number of success stories, such as Mister Spex, Rigontec, 6Wunderkin- der, Next Kraftwerke and Cumulocity, as well as Juniqe, an online shop for art enthusiasts. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.5 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,200 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 90 companies.

Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik and WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.

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