US-based medical device manufacturer Bruker Corp (Bruker) announced last week (18 August) that it would acquire PhenomeX, a specialty cellular analysis company. Bruker has been busy over the last year, with GlobalData research suggesting that it has announced 23 deals since the start of 2022, many of which are merger and acquisition (M&A) related.

The majority of these are focused on small and relatively young companies operating, much like PhenomeX, in complimentary areas to Bruker’s primary output.

The company itself is less than a year old, being formed at the beginning of 2023 through a merger of two smaller firms. In March, Berkeley lights acquired IsoPlexis for $57.8m, with Isoplexis shareholders retaining 25% of the new company.

Though PhenomeX’s stock jumped 60% following the announcement, it does little to counteract the catastrophic decline in share value since Berkeley went public three years ago at $22 a share, peaking in December of 2020 at $103. Following a report into its misleading statements and faulty technology in 2021, a class action lawsuit was filed by investors, pushing stocks even lower.

For Bruker, buying now is a vote of confidence in the company, clearly hoping that the new name and their own pedigree will be enough to move past the troubled past. If it can leverage the half billion dollars in cash or cash-equivalents it holds to expand and improve the production of PhenomeX’s technology, it may well pay off, especially given the bargain-basement price.

The medical sector continues to utilise M&A deals as a way to incorporate novel technologies into their offering without risking excessive and potentially wasted research and development costs.

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