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3 November 2017

Cronin investigates OpenIOLabs for $615,000

OpenIOLabs has been bought by diversified scientific research firm Cronin in a $615,000 all-shares deal.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

OpenIOLabs, a UK-based connected laboratory system developer spun out from Imperial College London (ICL) and University of Cambridge, agreed to an acquisition by diversified research firm Cronin today.

OpenIOLabs investors will together receive an initial consideration of 25 million Cronin shares, however this could rise to 47 million should the spinout meet certain performance criteria.

The initial valuation works out at £470,000 ($615,000) based on Cronin shares trading at £0.0188 each as of the time of writing.

Founded in 2005 as Ionscope, OpenIOLabs has created a monitoring system that can run various scientific pieces of apparatus from a single, cloud-based dashboard. 

The dashboard controls a pre-processing hub compatible with analogue interfaces common to the lab such as bare copper wire while running a uniform programming script to translate different coding languages. 

Cronin expects OpenIOLabs technology to expedite its development pipeline by at least six months. David Cleevely, chairman of OpenIOLabs, will join Cronin as a non-executive director following the transaction.

OpenIOLabs booked a post-tax loss of $746,000 for 2016. The business disclosed $1.4m of funding in 2007 from a consortium of individual investors affiliated with Cambridge Angels Group.

Deals database Pitchbook recorded an earlier round of undisclosed size from Cambridge Enterprises, the tech transfer office of the university, and Imperial Innovations, the tech transfer arm of ICL. However, further details on the funding could not be ascertained.

Mark Warne, executive chairman of Cronin, said: “This acquisition brings together complementary skills and technologies to strengthen Cronin’s technical implementation of our strategic roadmap to digitise chemistry.

“We are confident that the combined business will deliver an enhanced customer proposition in the fast-growing smart labs market and deliver good value for our shareholders.”

– Editor's note: this article was amended on November 6. It previously stated that the acquisition was worth $61.4m based on Cronin's share price of £1.88, but in fact Cronin's shares traded at 1.88 pence. We apologise for the mistake.

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