Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Acquisition Gives St. Louis-Based Canopy an International Reach

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Acquisition Gives St. Louis-Based Canopy an International Reach

Article excerpt

Expanding internationally, being backed by a prominent private equity firm and tripling in size are big events for any startup. Canopy Biosciences did all three at once.

Canopy, a two-year-old St. Louis provider of genomics products and services, announced Monday that it had acquired Zellkraftwerk, a German company with leading technology for identifying proteins within cells.

Ampersand Capital Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, invested in Canopy to finance the deal. Neither the acquisition price nor the size of Ampersand's investment was disclosed.

The deal places Canopy on a growing list of St. Louis startups that have attracted the attention of prominent outside investors. Frank Witney, the Ampersand partner who will become Canopy's chairman, has been chief executive of two biotech companies that achieved billion-dollar exits.

Presumably, Ampersand wouldn't have invested in Canopy if it didn't see similar potential.

"Canopy has now joined that short list of the half-dozen strongest, fastest-growing companies in St. Louis that will take us to big exits or IPOs," said Charlie Bolten, senior vice president at BioGenerator. His institution assembled Canopy's leadership team in 2017, provided seed financing and houses the firm in its BioGenerator Labs space in the Central West End.

"This is one of the top private equity groups in the country using the team that we put together to go international and buying assets to put under them," Bolten added. "I can't think of a better endorsement for our strategy."

The acquisition will triple Canopy's staff, from 13 people to nearly 40. Edward Weinstein, co-founder and chief executive, says the German company's protein analysis complements Canopy's DNA and RNA sequencing expertise.

"We would have been hard-pressed to identify another technology that's as much of a game changer," he said. …

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