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Spin-off sold for 30 millions euros

The spin-off from Hahn-Schickard and the University of Freiburg is now part of the Swedish company CELLINK AB

The strategic acquisition is merging two companies that complement each other perfectly: Life-science company CELLINK markets devices and technologies used to print human tissues and cell-culture models. cytena produces laboratory devices that isolate, sort, and dispense individual human cells and bacteria - similar to an inkjet printer. The patented process is used especially for research purposes and for manufacturing medicines.

The company cytena was founded in 2014 by the former doctoral students from the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg, Dr. Jonas Schöndube (CEO) and Dr. André Gross (CTO), together with the economist Benjamin Steimle (CFO) and Dr. Peter Koltay from IMTEK. cytena’s founding already marked the second successful establishment of a company for the latter. The core technology is based on systems developed between 2000 and 2010 in the lab of Dr. Roland Zengerle in his position as IMTEK professor for MEMS Applications, together with Hahn-Schickard. The systems underwent further refinement in various research projects from 2010 to 2014 to reach the prototype stage.

The Hahn-Schickard Institute in Villingen-Schwenningen assisted the Freiburg-based start-up from the outset with the production of silicon chips in its own clean room. “Microsystems engineering is paving the way for many new and exciting products, but taking the step from research to manufacturing proves to be a major stumbling block for many companies. Quantities are extremely limited at first, and large, established production service providers often won’t even deal with small start-ups, whose future prospects aren’t clear,” said Prof. Roland Zengerle, who heads the Hahn-Schickard Institute in Freiburg. “Hahn-Schickard closes this gap and assists its partners from idea to production,” said Prof. Alfons Dehé, under whose leadership in Villingen-Schwenningen the capacity of the clean room there has just doubled.

“Together with the founders, we are thrilled about cytena’s great success and the growing quantities that we have the privilege of now producing for cytena,” said Peter Nommensen, who has provided support for this development from the beginning in his role as division manager of clean-room production in Villingen-Schwenningen.

“Spin-offs are becoming an increasingly important way for us to translate our research findings into practical applications,” Zengerle explained. The other ways are through scientific publications; technology transfer via minds, that is, Hahn-Schickard employees joining its partners; as well as by collaborating directly with industry in particular.



Prof. Dr.

Roland Zengerle Executive Board Member

+49 761 203 73200 Contact


  • Hahn-Schickard Director Freiburg
  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Microfluidics
  • Point-of-Care Diagnostics