Back from Bankruptcy: Bruker Buys NanoString

NanoString Technologies, a lifescience company that offers researchers technology to study “new frontier of molecular biology,” announced that it will be acquired by Bruker Corporation for $393 million. The all-cash Chapter 11 deal is structured as an asset purchase that is expected to close quickly this quarter.

“NanoString is a provider of life science tools for discovery and translational research with leading solutions for spatial transcriptomics and gene expression analysis,” according to the companies’ joint press release. “For over fifteen years, and with over 7,000 peer-reviewed publications, scientists and medical researchers have relied on NanoStrings pioneering instruments to advance biological, translational and clinical disease research.”

New technologies often face significant hurdles, however – NanoString is currently under a court-supervised Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale process. Last November, a jury required that NanoString pay over $31 million to 10X Genomics for infringing on the its patents. NanoString laid off employees and filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2024. Bruker projects NanoString’s business line to rebound to near breakeven by 2026.

Source: S&P Global

Higher interest rates and a more challenging economic climate led to a spike in bankruptcies during 2023, after low levels of activity during 2021-2022. Bankruptcy filings have decelerated during the first part of 2024 and more companies are opting to file for Chapter 11 over Chapter 7. Chapter 11, for which NanoString filed, typically allows companies to reorganize their operations under court supervision and reemerge with leaner operations, while Chapter 7 seeks to liquidate assets and terminate the business.

NanoString’s Chapter 11 sale to Bruker arrives during robust M&A activity in the biopharma sector. Despite weak overall M&A activity during 2023, biopharma rebounded, clocking in a 79% increase in activity over 2022. Analysts predict continued strength in the sector during 2024.

Source: IQVIA

According to DealPulse’s M&A database, which harnesses both AI and attorneys to digest the granular deal points of publicly-announced transactions, NanoString is advised by law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and financial advisor Perella Weinberg Partners LP. Bruker Corporation is advised by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and financial adviser Goldman, Sachs & Co.