Evonik announced today that it has acquired German biotech company JeNaCell, expanding its biomaterials portfolio with the startup’s biotechnologically derived cellulose. JeNaCell’s biomaterial is used in medical procedures involving wounds and burns as well as in hydro-active skincare treatments.
Evonik first invested in JeNaCell in 2015 through its venture capital arm. With this acquisition, JeNaCell's portfolio will be integrated into Evonik's healthcare business, which is shifting from a nutrition and care focus toward system solutions and an expanded division-wide technology platform of natural materials for medical technology. Evonik plans to increase the share of system solutions in its Nutrition & Care division from the current 20% to more than 50% by 2030.
“JeNaCell has developed one of the most innovative biomaterials for medical device technologies,” said Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik’s Health Care business line. “With the help of the creativity and expertise of JeNaCell's specialists, we will ensure that even more patients benefit from these products in the future. The acquisition will help us to further strengthen our position as an innovation hub for the world’s leading medical technology companies,” added Riermeier.
For JeNaCell CEO and co-founder Dana Kralisch, the acquisition represents a “quantum leap” for the company to reach the full potential of its technology. “We are excited to have found a strong and trusted partner to develop our technology platform and a new home for our passionate team of experts. Together, we will expand our customer base and explore new application areas,” said Kralisch.
JeNaCell began as a spinoff company from the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena in Germany. In 2017, the company launched epicite, a medical wound dressing for the treatment of chronic wounds, surgical wounds, and burns that is based on biotechnologically derived cellulose. It is soft biomaterial that provides a therapeutic "microclimate" on the wound and that can be removed painlessly. Further technologies developed by JeNaCell include soft tissue implants, transdermal delivery systems, and dermatological applications.
In announcing the acquisition, Evonik said that JeNaCell employees will continue to work at the development and production site based in Jena, Germany. Evonik is headquartered in Essen, Germany.