By Kristy Dorsey

Edinburgh’s Censo Biotechnologies has agreed to a merger with fellow UK cell technology specialist Axol Bioscience in a deal that includes a further £3.8 million investment in the combined operation.

The deal is aimed at creating a leading provider of products and services in the field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Derived from skin or blood cells, iPSCs have been reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like state that enables the development of an unlimited source of any type of human cell that can be used for therapeutic treatments.

The fresh investment has been provided by Calculus Capital and Scotland’s Par Equity, leading backers of Axol and Censo respectively. The money will be used to “enable growth of the business and acquisition of talent to meet customer demand”.

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Liam Taylor, chief executive of Cambridge-based Axol, and his senior leadership team will take over the management of the combined operation which will operate under the Axol brand. Censo’s interim chief executive, Tom Stratford, has been appointed a non-executive director of the combined board on behalf of Par Equity.

“Censo’s strength is our scientific team, as trusted partners in designing, executing and managing custom project work,” Mr Stratford said.

“The combined entity will now be able to leverage Axol’s strength in iPSC-derived cells as well as complementary services such as electrophysiology to further our ability and efficiency to serve customers.”