Donaldson expands portfolio with $148m Univercells buy

The acquisition of Univercells Technologies is a significant step in our strategy and expanding our product portfolio, says Donaldson Company.

Millie Nelson, Editor

July 4, 2023

3 Min Read
Donaldson expands portfolio with $148m Univercells buy

The acquisition of Univercells Technologies is a significant step in our strategy and expanding our product portfolio, says Donaldson Company.

Minneapolis-based filtration firm Donaldson has bought Belgium-based Univercells for €136 million ($148 million) on a cash-free, debt-free basis and subject to closing agreements. Univercells provides biomanufacturing solutions for cell and gene therapy (CGT) research, advancement, and commercial production.

In February 2020, global investment firm KKR – through its portfolio of life sciences tools companies Gamma Biosciences – committed €50 million ($54 million) into the firm Univercells.



“Moving along the technology adoption cycle, the company now needs to further scale its commercial operations and reach, expand its product portfolio and establish global operations to serve the needs of the customers,” Mathias Garny, CEO of Univercells Technologies, told BioProcess Insider.

“Accelerating the process is only possible by leveraging the infrastructure of an established industrial player with a global presence, which is what we’ll be doing by joining Donaldson.”

Univercells’ offering includes its scale-X single-use bioreactor for the production of viruses used in CGTs, therapeutics, and viral vaccines. According to the firm, its scale-X bioreactor portfolio “provides enhanced upstream processing of viral products,” which boast a “structured and intensified fixed-bed design” that offers a “linear scalability from the bench to the plant,” to produce gene therapies and vaccines.

Additionally, Univercells’ automated NevoLine Upstream platform is described as a biomanufacturing technology “that delivers cost-effective viral production, including vaccines, gene therapies and oncolytic viruses.” Its commercial and clinical scale “upstream production is achieved within a 3m² footprint.”

“The acquisition of Univercells Technologies represents an important next step in Donaldson’s life sciences strategy, as we continue to expand our product portfolio aimed at providing customers with a comprehensive, differentiated offering,” said Tod Carpenter, CEO of Donaldson.

“Univercells Technologies’ engineered systems provide close adjacencies with our previous life sciences acquisitions as well as with our growing organic product suite.”

Over 100 employees

Univercells Technologies has more than 100 collaborators, “70 based in the Belgian headquarters and about 30 globally, and Donaldson expects to retain all Univercells Technologies employees as part of the deal,” said Garny.

He also said the firm might make “additional organizational changes may be announced as we consider ways to leverage the strengths of each organization to accelerate Donaldson’s Life Sciences growth.”

M&A activity

Donaldson has made a string of investments in the Life Sciences space. In February, the firm acquired early-stage biotech firm, Isolere, for an undisclosed fee to form separation and filtration solutions for emerging genetic-based drugs.

Moreover, in December 2021, Donaldson added a range of bioreactors, fermenters, and tangential flow filtration (TFF) systems through the €41 million ($47 million) acquisition of Italy’s Solaris Biotechnology.

Cory Padesky, senior director of strategy and marketing, Donaldson Life Sciences did not rule out future expansions and said it “is exploring facility expansion across all of its acquisitions to ensure they have the capacity needed to meet their aggressive growth targets.”

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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