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SFW News
Apr, 3
SFW Capital Partners Completes Sale of Essen BioScience to Sartorius Group AG

Rye, NY, April 3, 2017 – SFW Capital Partners, a specialized private equity firm that invests in mid-sized companies providing analytical tools and related services with a particular focus on instrumentation, software, information, and workflow solutions, today announced it has completed the sale of Essen BioScience Inc., a pioneer and leader in the field of cell-based assays and instrumentation used for life sciences research, to Sartorius Group AG (FWB: SRT), a leading partner to the biopharmaceutical industry and laboratories, for $320 million.

SFW acquired a controlling interest in Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Essen in May 2014. SFW recruited Brett Williams to become Essen’s CEO and, throughout the investment, supported Brett and the Essen management team in executing a wide range of strategic, organizational, and operating  initiatives to drive significant organic revenue growth and the adoption of Essen’s highly innovative IncuCyte live cell analysis platform. With SFW’s support, Essen made substantial investments in the development of new applications for the IncuCyte instrument that incorporated integrated instrumentation, software, reagents and consumables, and in enhancing its sales, marketing, service and field support capabilities. Through these investments, Essen achieved significant growth in revenues and profitability, and substantially transformed its organization, strategy and market position.

“Essen’s differentiated instrumentation, long-standing customer relationships, deep application expertise and significant opportunities for organic growth were a great fit with SFW’s focus on investing in and supporting the transformational growth, development and sustainable leadership position of highly innovative providers of analytical instrumentation and related products,” said Roger Freeman, a Co-Founder and Partner of SFW. “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to partner closely with Essen’s co-founders, Brett Williams and the entire Essen management team.”

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational investments and improvements we enacted with the support and guidance of SFW, which strengthened Essen’s organic growth and leading innovative position in cell-based life science research, while positioning us for our next stage of growth,” said Brett Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Essen BioScience. “We are excited to become a part of Sartorius and build on our industry-leading cell analytics solutions. This is not only a great opportunity to build upon Essen’s market-leading position, but also to continue the development and introduction of transformative solutions for life sciences. In addition, we believe that the combination with Sartorius will provide exceptional opportunities for sustained growth and development for our employees, customers and business partners.”

About SFW Capital Partners
SFW Capital Partners is a leading investor in analytical tools and related services companies, including providers of analytical instrumentation, software, information, and related business services. SFW is a specialized private equity firm that exclusively invests where its principals’ 20+ years of knowledge of the relevant business models, technology, competitive dynamics and service requirements gives it a unique ability to support management teams in growing their companies and building value. For more information, please visit

About Essen BioScience, Inc.
Founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1996, Essen BioScience develops and manufactures instruments, software, reagents and consumables which enable researchers to remotely image and quantitate a wide variety of cellular processes over time. The IncuCyte® System, is a real-time quantitative live-cell analysis platform that enables visualization and quantification of cell behavior over time by automatically gathering and analyzing images around the clock within a standard laboratory incubator. The system allows researchers to make time-lapsed fully kinetic measurements from living cells over days and weeks thus providing insight into active biological processes in real time.