Blueprint Genetics looks to raise EUR 25m–50m this year to finance expansion, including M&A — CEO

25 April 2019 - 11:29 am UTC

by Karoliina Liimatainen in London

Blueprint Genetics, a Finland-based genetic testing company with analytics and interpretation capabilities, aims to raise EUR 25m – EUR 50m of growth capital by YE19 to fund investments, possibly including acquisitions, CEO Tommi Lehtonen said. 

 

The amount to be raised may increase to over EUR 50m, he added. Depending on the targeted size of the round, Blueprint may eventually hire an advisor for the fundraising, he added, but no decision has yet been made.

 

The company is not yet actively talking with potential investors, Lehtonen said. The size of the funding round will be determined in the coming months once Blueprint has decided on its investment strategy, including R&D needs and geographic expansion, he said. 

 

It has previously raised EUR 24m of equity, Lehtonen said. The founders and management of Blueprint still have a significant stake in the company but hold less than 50%, he said. 

 

Blueprint’s largest external investors are venture capital and private equity funds, including Inventure and Pontos Group from Finland, Germany-based Creathor, Switzerland-based MedTech Innovation Parners (MTIP) and California-based Cota Capital, Lehtonen said. 

 

Potential M&A

Engaging in M&A could lead to even larger funding needs than the expected EUR 50m ceiling, Lehtonen said. Blueprint is interested in geographic expansion in North America, Australia and Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, he said. The company already has a “very strong” position in Canada and the Nordics in the genetic testing segment and it is quickly gaining market share in the US, he added. 

 

Blueprint is also interested in acquiring companies that offer something complementary to its current service portfolio, Lehtonen said, but essentially it is looking to consolidate the genetic testing space and increase its market share.

 

With the new funding round, Blueprint wants to bring in more venture capital and private equity money, Lehtonen said, adding that the company is not interested in strategic investors and it is not for sale — although it has been approached “multiple times” by interested buyers. 

 

“We want to expand independently”, he said, mentioning the great growth potential of both Blueprint and the whole genetic testing sector as the main reason. 

 

Financial growth

Blueprint, which has offices in Helsinki, San Francisco and Dubai, generated EUR 15.5m revenue last year — up 76% from 2017, Lehtonen said, expecting the growth rate to remain at 50%—100% level in the near term. Blueprint will still be loss-making for FY19 but the company is very close to breaking even in terms of  EBITDA, he added.

 

The company’s clients are mainly university hospitals, Lehtonen said. It has about 150 employees, with 115 of them working in the EMEA region and 35 in North America, he added.

 

The company was founded in 2012 by biologist Samuel Myllykangas and two doctors, Tero-Pekka Alastalo and Juha Koskenvuo. While doing research at Stanford University, Myllykangas developed an efficient way to analyse DNA in a clinical environment, and the two doctors understood how this could be sold to hospitals, Lehtonen said. 

 

Lehtonen, who was the CEO of social media analytics start-up Whitevector, came aboard to lead Blueprint soon after the company was established. 

 

Blueprint has moved on from the original patented technology and has spent recent years investing especially in software development, Lehtonen said, adding that Blueprint’s goal is to be the best in the world in clinical interpretation and analysis of genetic data.

 

Blueprint is specialised in detecting rare inherited diseases which affect about 350m people around the world, according to company information. It aims to cut the costs of clinical gene testing and improve the quality of the analysis to the point where there’s no room for misdiagnosis, Lehtonen said. While the company began with cardiovascular diseases, it now does testing in 14 medical specialities. 

 

Blueprint’s competitors include two US-based companies, GeneDx from Maryland and Invitae from California, as well as Germany-based Centogene, Lehtonen listed. GeneDX is a subsidiary of OPKO Health’s BioReference Laboratories

 

Invitae, which listed in 2015 and has a market cap of USD 2bn (EUR 1.8bn), is also actively looking for acquisitions in the genetic testing space, the company’s CEO told this news service in January. Centogene, the smallest of the three, is considering a New York listing later this year, according to local reports.

 

Blueprint does not have any plans to list in the near future, Lehtonen said, adding that he sees consolidation in the clinical genetics industry as a more dominating trend than IPOs.