Jonas Schoendube, the business area director for biosciences at BICO Group.

BICO Group, the Swedish owner of healthcare and life sciences companies focused on “bioconvergence” of biology, engineering, and computer science technologies, has expanded into lab automation software with plans announced Thursday for its latest acquisition.

BICO has agreed to acquire San Diego-based Biosero for up to $165 million, in a deal that creates a combined provider focused on end-to-end automation of workflows for genomics, diagnostics, spatial biology, and other key healthcare applications.

Biosero, the fourteenth company in BICO’s growing stable of businesses, will join the buyer’s biosciences business area—and more importantly, says BICO, serve as the proverbial glue connecting the other 13 life science companies and their dozens of devices.

Founded in 2003, Biosero offers software solutions under the brand umbrella of “Green Button Go,” as well as services designed to enable seamless laboratory automation for connected and smart workflows.

“While BICO’s companies have always developed software in-house to run on its own devices, Biosero’s externally developed connectivity software will greatly expand the ability for our devices to operate in automated workflows with each other as well as other devices in life science labs,” Jonas Schoendube, the business area director for biosciences at BICO, told GEN. “Biosero’s Green Button Go software is one of the most universally used automation software and is compatible with nearly 500 devices, something we will continue to grow in the future to best serve our shared customers.”

Schoendube said more than a dozen BICO products are already compatible with Biosero’s connectivity software, including those from BICO companies Qinstruments, CYTENA, and Cellenion.

“Eventually all BICO companies, starting with Dispendix and CELLINK, will become compatible with Biosero’s software to enable more efficient and data-rich workflows,” he added.

Under the terms of the acquisition deal, BICO said, Biosero will remain independent and hardware agnostic, yet also allow BICO’s devices to become optimized for Biosero’s software solutions, in order to create more seamless workflows and data-feedback loops for researchers.

BICO said its plans for Biosero include investing $20 million over three years to accelerate the company’s commercialization efforts by expanding into new regions and fully monetizing its current pipeline of orders.

East Coast, Europe, and Asia

“BICO will leverage its strong commercial operations to help Biosero rapidly expand to the U.S. East Coast, Europe, and Asia,” Schoendube said. “This includes close collaboration between Biosero and other BICO sales reps to educate new and existing customers on the benefits of automated workflows using our hardware and software.”

The company also plans to accelerate product development capabilities in software features such as mobile robotics and data analytics.

“The Biosero software platform will serve as a glue to our impressive portfolio of hardware instruments and solutions, tying together the great hardware technologies we have acquired over the years,” stated Erik Gatenholm, CEO and co-founder of BICO. “Through improved efficacy and efficiency this leads to better and faster decision making for our customers and contributes to solving the modern healthcare challenges we face.”

Biosero is expected to generate approximately $26 million in annual revenue, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of more than 25%.

BICO Group finished the third quarter with a net loss of SEK 105 million ($11.6 million), nearly nine times the SEK 12.2 million ($1.35 million) net loss of Q3 2020, on net sales of SEK 315.6 million ($34.9 million), nearly four times the SEK 80.6 million ($8.9 million) of a year ago.

During the first nine months of this year, BICO Group racked up a net loss of SEK 203.3 million ($22.5 million), up from a year-ago net loss of SEK 50.5 million ($5.6 million) on net sales of SEK 738.2 million ($81.7 million), nearly five times the SEK 158.8 million ($17.6 million) of Q1-Q3 2020. BICO Group finished 2020 with a net loss of SEK 30.1 million ($3.3 million) on net sales of SEK 365.8 million ($40.5 million).

Of the $165 million purchase price for Biosero, approximately 63% will be paid in cash, 21% through the 1.2 million in “consideration” shares to be issued by Biosero at the closing of the deal, and the remaining approximately 16% to be paid as shares and cash tied to achieving milestones over the next three years, BICO said.

Does the Biosero acquisition augur additional BICO purchases in software?

“As far as additional software acquisitions, we are always looking at both internal and external opportunity to develop new software that can improve our customer’s workflows,” Schoendube added.