BORN2GROW invests in PL BioScience and an innovative nutrient solution for the cultivation of cell cultures

Heilbronn/Aachen –BORN2GROW GmbH & Co. KG, a subsidiary of Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn, has acquired an interest in the Aachen biotechnology company PL BioScience. In addition to BORN2GROW, TechVision Fonds I for the regions Aachen, Krefeld & Mönchen-gladbach GmbH & Co. KG, managed by the S-UBG Group, and several business angels are also investing in the Aachen start-up. The company furthermore announced that Dr. Siegfried Ebner – who has more than 25 years of experience in life sciences and was most recently responsible for Innovation with Focus on Devices and Technologies at Grünenthal – will be complementing the management team.

PL BioScience has developed an advanced nutrient solution for the cultivation of cell cultures. This can replace the previous standard among cell culture media, animal bovine serum. Foetal bovine serum is obtained from the blood of unborn calves and has been established in cell cultivation for decades despite its controversial extraction. PL BioScience is one of the few manufacturers in the world to offer a non-animal alternative. Since recently, PL BioScience has also been the only manufacturer of a similarly priced human alternative.

The products of PL BioScience are based on human platelet lysate, which is obtained in a recycling process from donated blood that has already been stored too long to be used in humans. Finally, as growing media, they find their way into cell culture laboratories all over world, where they allow decisive advances in regenerative medicine.

As a nutrient solution, platelet lysate is superior to FBS in many respects: its composition reflects physiological conditions in the human body more accurately and provides a more undistorted research result. FBS is unusable for many applications because of its animal origin. Platelet lysate, in contrast, is an ethical and sustainable product. It is produced in a refining procedure from donated blood that has reached its maximum storage period and is therefore no longer suitable for transfusion. In comparison to FBS, platelet lysate provides ideal conditions for cell growth, including among other things the high level of human growth factors. “Our cell culture media are GMP-compliant and stable in price, whereas FBS prices are sub-ject to extreme fluctuation”, explains Dr. Hatim Hemeda, molecular biologist and co-founder (GMP: “Good Manufacturing Practice”). “And we can tailor the production of our platelet lysates to the growing demand from research, development and therapy in regenerative medicine.”
“Based on a platform technology, we have created several product variants, and we now want to press ahead with their development and production”, says Christian Wilkes, CFO and co-founder of the company. “First we are using the capital to finalise our technology and then to expand production and distribution.”
Thomas R. Villinger, Member of the Administrative Board of BORN2GROW and Managing Director of Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn, is looking forward to the cooperation with great anticipation: “Thanks to intensive research and an innovative production process, PL BioScience is providing regenerative medicine with products which allow a very wide range of applications from fundamental research to stem cell therapy. We, as investors, were convinced by the technological and ethical standard of this start-up as well as by the entire management team.”

About PL BioScience:
PL BioScience GmbH arose from RWTH Aachen in 2015 as a spin-off. With their technology platform, the team was able to develop various products in different qualities – as necessary for specific applications in academic research, clinic research or even in cell propagation for stem cell therapies. PL BioScience has already completed its entry into the market and is generating significant sales with research groups, biotech firms and life science concerns. The company aims to position itself as a technological leader with these customers and to supply the best possible products for all phases of research and development with stem cells.

BORN2GROW is a Heilbronn-based and internationally active seed fund concentrating on investments in fast-growing start-ups in advanced technologies such as life sciences, artificial intelligence and machine learning, internet of things, new materials, and hardware and robotics. BORN2GROW is a subsidiary company of ZFHN Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn, a family office, which for almost 20 years has been investing in technology-related start-ups and high-growth companies in Europe, Israel, Asia and the USA as they become ready for the market.

The founding team Dr. Hatim Hemeda and Christian Wilkes (left to right) with Dr. Siegfried Ebner (middle). © PL BioScience / Alexander Sievert