ARCHIMED buys Cube, an innovative provider of membrane protein services for the biopharma research market
ARCHIMED and Cube management will expand sales in the US – the world’s largest drug discovery market – and broaden Cube’s product and service offering organically and via acquisitions.
Trans-Atlantic private equity healthcare specialist ARCHIMED has purchased a majority stake in Monheim, Germany-based Cube. Founded in 2012, Cube has developed proprietary methods and products to provide high purity, stable membrane proteins for drug discovery. Membrane proteins are found across the surface of cells, playing a key role as receptors for drugs, but they are extremely difficult to extract without loss of native functionality. Stable extraction of such proteins is Cube’s core specialty and a critical step for successful structure determination and effective drug discovery.
“Up to one hundred human membrane proteins have seen their structure determined, but thousands have yet to be characterized,” says ARCHIMED Partner Loïc Kubitza. “The unmatched quality of Cube’s proprietary processes and products is contributing to a golden age in efficient drug discovery, so we’re here to help them scale-up aggressively.” “Partnering with ARCHIMED will maximize Cube’s potential through better penetration of the US market, focused organic product and service expansion and the ability to leverage our knowledge and connections through acquisitions,” says Cube co-founder and Managing Director, Barbara Maertens.
“Partnering with ARCHIMED will maximize Cube’s potential through better penetration of the US market, focused organic product and service expansion and the ability to leverage our knowledge and connections through acquisitions.”
Cube co-founder and Managing Director, Barbara Maertens
In keeping with ARCHIMED’s partnership model with entrepreneurs, Maertens and her co-founders – Managing Directors Jan Kubicek and Roland Fabis – remain significant shareholders alongside ARCHIMED, maintaining their leadership positions at Cube. This trio of highly respected PhDs previously held key positions in the protein production, purification and crystallization business segments of Qiagen, the life sciences and molecular diagnostics group and first German company to list on Nasdaq.
ARCHIMED is reinforcing Cube’s board with the appointment of Dirk Ehlers as Chairman. Ehlers was previously Chief Executive of life sciences tools group, Eppendorf and Chief Finance Officer of drug discovery services pioneer, Evotec. Also appointed to the Board are ARCHIMED Operating Partner, Klaus Maleck, previously Chief Executive of TETEC, a specialist in cell therapies for cartilage repair, and Peter Reinemer, formerly Chief Operating Officer at Proteros Biostructures, a leading provider of early-stage drug research services.
Cube is ARCHIMED’s latest investment in Germany, following the acquisition last December of Zyto Group, a developer of precision cancer diagnostics. “Trans-Atlantic scale-ups have effectively become our calling card based on our track-record with NAMSA, Clean Biologics and Polyplus, among others,” says ARCHIMED Managing Partner Denis Ribon. Toledo, Ohio-based NAMSA is the world’s preeminent contract research organization for medical devices; Strasbourg, France-based Polyplus is a leader in state-of-the-art gene and cell therapy technology; and Clean Biologics is a specialist in biosafety testing and biologics CDMO services, based near Nantes, France.
ARCHIMED invested in Cube through its MED II fund (now fully invested). MED II and its successor fund MED III partner with companies in the European and North American small-cap healthcare sectors, buying majority stakes in association with existing owners and managers. ARCHIMED also manages MED I, currently ranked the best performing buyout fund at a global level for the 2014 vintage, according to Preqin data. MED I has distributed more than four times invested capital to limited partners and has a total return in excess of six times invested capital.