Bruker brokers $392M deal for frayed NanoString

Bruker Corporation has emerged as the winner of an auction for NanoString Technologies and its spatial biology assets after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

The successful cash bid of about $392.6 million will lift NanoString out of bankruptcy proceedings and aims to ensure customers’ access to the company’s multi-omic products through Bruker’s life science instrument catalog.

“The sale to Bruker will also bring about a swift conclusion of our restructuring process,” NanoString President and CEO Brad Gray said in a statement. “Our loyal customers, suppliers and employees have stood with us through this dynamic period, and we are grateful for their dedication to the future of our technology and our mission to map the universe of biology.”

The deal will also aim to maintain the “continuity of NanoString’s business operations and product development initiatives for customers and substantially all of its employees,” according to NanoString.

Bruker’s proposal weighs in at about 78% above the $220 million stalking-horse agreement that NanoString signed with Patient Square Capital last month. According to NanoString,  Bruker officially delivered its pitch on the April 12 deadline for competing offers, before the gavel came down on April 16. 

Bruker’s deal is still subject to bankruptcy court approval and other conditions and is expected to close in May.

NanoString filed for bankruptcy in February after it lost a years-long U.S. patent infringement lawsuit late last year to 10x Genomics and was ordered to pay $31 million in damages. 10x and Prognosys Biosciences claimed that NanoString’s GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler violated seven of their patents and exclusive licenses for methods to chart the molecular machinery within tissues and cells.

NanoString has countersued 10x in an antitrust case that includes Harvard University, claiming that because the underlying technology was developed using public grant money, it should not be limited to exclusive licensing.

NanoString has also been waging a legal battle against 10x in Europe. Earlier this year the company reported that the appeals branch of the European Unified Patent Court overturned a previous injunction that was issued by a local German oversight division.

The injunction had blocked European Union sales of NanoString’s CosMx Spatial Molecular Imager products, while its reversal allowed the company to resume the business in 16 member countries.