Stirling Ultracold, an Ohio-based manufacturer and provider of the most energy efficient, sustainable ultra-low temperature (ULT) biorepositories has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with BioLife Solutions (NASDAQ: BLFS), a leading provider of bioproduction products and services for the Gene and Cell Therapy (GCT) markets.
Stirling Ultracold is backed by the Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF), with OIF Managing Director Bill Baumel serving on the board, the Strategic Committee alongside CEO Dusty Tenney, and acting as the Seller Representative in this transaction — OIF Principal Faith Voinovich led the reverse diligence on BioLife for Stirling. Stirling is headquartered in Athens, Ohio, where its design and manufacturing center is located (and will remain) and has a satellite office in Columbus, Ohio.
Founded in 1995, Stirling Ultracold leveraged their innovative Stirling engine to create a competitive first-of-its-kind biorepository — the first ever EnergyStar certified ULT freezer. After an initial period of low spend on research & development, operational issues, and modest sales and marketing execution, 2016 marked the start of Stirling’s accelerated growth trajectory.
OIF led the 2016 and 2018 financing rounds, investing in research and development, as well as the transformation of Stirling’s Athens location into a world class advanced manufacturing facility.
A collaborative effort between Stirling CTO Dave Berchowitz and OIF bore the first Stirling product roadmap. Speaking on OIF’s involvement, Berchowitz shared, “OIF saw the value of the Stirling engine and ensured R&D was fully supported, both financially and culturally at Stirling. Our first formal product roadmap was actually drafted in OIF’s offices.”
OIF drove the early 2020 hiring of Stirling CEO Dusty Tenney; since then, the company has secured major COVID-19 cold chain partnerships, such as UPS and Walgreens, and expanded to over 150 employees. Dusty was previously President of Life Sciences at Brooks Automation where he grew revenues from $65 million to $330 million in five years. Dusty will join BioLife as President and Chief Operating Officer.
Tenney provided insight on OIF’s involvement, commenting “Bill’s been a key advocate and value driver. His insights into the life sciences market and savvy strategic comments enabled Stirling to quickly accelerate its growth transformation.”