Toptica acquires majority of live-cell microscopy company TILL Photonics

JULY 6, 2009--A German consortium led by Toptica Photonics AG (Graefelfing, Germany), has acquired all assets and assumed certain liabilities of TILL Photonics GmbH from Agilent Technologies. The consortium, completed by Frank Lison, TILL's future CEO, and Rainer Uhl, the founder and previous owner of TILL, plans to continue and grow the business under its previous name and with the previous strategic intentions.

JULY 6, 2009--A German consortium led by Toptica Photonics AG (Graefelfing, Germany), has acquired all assets and assumed certain liabilities of TILL Photonics GmbH from Agilent Technologies. The consortium, completed by Frank Lison, TILL's future CEO, and Rainer Uhl, the founder and previous owner of TILL, plans to continue and grow the business under its previous name and with the previous strategic intentions.

TILL Photonics was launched in 1993 and purchased by Agilent in 2008. The company develops and markets fluorescence microscopyproducts that are used in basic research, applied science and medical diagnostics. TILL's platform helps researchers combine advanced fluorescence imaging techniques in order to gather better and more meaningful data from live-cell processes.

Toptica manufactures diode lasers and ultrafast fiber lasers for various markets. In the field of biophotonics and microscopy, Toptica's lasers help researchers using light microscopy techniques to gain a better understanding of the interactions within and between cells. "TILL's and Toptica's business structures are very alike. Both companies are technology-driven, offer highly complex products and can claim technological leadership for more than one of their products," said Lison, one of the managing directors of the newly formed company and currently VP of R&D at Toptica.

"Advanced optical and fluorescence techniques are indispensible tools for gaining better insight into structure and function of live cells in culture and tissue," said Uhl, who is professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Munich, Germany). "TILL's fluorescence microscopy solutions can be ideally combined with laser solutions. Actually, the importance of lasers in microscopy--in life sciences in general--is steadily increasing. Supplemented with the similar company philosophies I can see a very good match, indeed," he added.

"Notwithstanding the financial link to Toptica, the new TILL Photonics GmbH will be operated as an independent entity with an independent organization and its own sales channels adapted to the microscopy market. TOPTICA sees itself in the role of a strategic investor who will use its entrepreneural experience to support the growth of the redirected company," said Toptica president Dr. Thomas Weber. The new management team, lead by Lison, includes specialists in biological imaging and business. The group intends to guide the now medium-sized company on a market-oriented growth path.

TILL's equipment, which is based on several patents for confocal and conventional fluorescence microscopes, is developed in collaboration with the BioImaging Zentrum (BIZ) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt (LMU) in Munich and manufactured in Germany. From the beginning, TILL focused on the development of innovative, enabling technologies for the study of live cells. Setting out with a novel light source for ratio imaging and the first real-time imaging system on the market, TILL developed a novel, award-winning microscope platform concept that allows integrating multiple functionalities into a single instrument. TILL subsequently became a provider for complete microscope systems, and the new TILL intends to extend the platform concept in order to grow into a wide range of markets, both in basic research, screening and medical diagnostics.

For more information see the websites for TILL Photonics and Toptica.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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