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BioLife Solutions To Buy Automated Thawing Device Maker Astero Bio

BioLife Solutions, Inc. (BLFS) announced Thursday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire privately-held Astero Bio Corp. for an upfront cash payment of $8.0 million.

In pre-market activity, BioLife shares were gaining around 1.8 percent to trade at $17.20.

Astero Bio is an innovator in the design, development and commercialization of novel automated thawing devices. Astero's ThawSTAR product line is expected to broaden BioLife's bioproduction tools portfolio.

The transaction is expected to be accretive on an adjusted EBITDA basis within 12 to 18 months. The company expects the revenue contribution in 2019 from the Astero product line will be relatively modest. However, by 2021, this could contribute as much as 15% of BioLife's total revenue.

Under the terms of the share purchase agreement, Astero shareholders are eligible to receive up to an additional $4.5 million in cash based on the completion of certain product development milestones and an additional $8.0 million in cash over the next three years based on attainment of specific revenue targets.

The transaction includes all Astero intellectual property comprised of 20 pending patents related to thawing and other cold chain technologies. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

This transaction is expected to further strengthen BioLife's position as a major supplier of disruptive, enabling solutions used in the manufacture, storage and distribution of cell and gene therapies.

In a recently published market research report, Infinium Global Research estimates that the worldwide market for automated thawing devices will exceed $150 million by 2024, driven by the growth in the number of cell and gene therapy clinical trials and approvals.

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