Graphene firm Paragraf acquires US chip maker Cardea Bio

Paragraf Cardea Bio Cardea Bio lab. Image credit: Paragraf

British graphene electronics company Paragraf has acquired US-based biocompatible chip firm Cardea Bio.

Acquiring Cardea Bio will allow Paragraf to create a “pipeline of biosensing products aimed at solving major global challenges”, said Paragraf CEO and co-founder Simon Thomas.

He added: “These products will strengthen surveillance of the quality and integrity of our food production processes, markedly improve early detection of disease and monitor the health of our environment.”

Terms of the deal between the two companies remain undisclosed. Cardea Bio’s San Diego site, employees and operations will become Paragraf USA.

The acquisition of a company comes after Thomas warned last year that the company could move operations across the Atlantic due to the lack of a UK semiconductor strategy and challenges attracting talent post-Brexit.

Speaking to UKTN, Paragraf said:

“While Paragraf is currently focused on expanding its manufacturing capacity at its new Huntingdon (UK) site, it is open to opportunities for growth and expansion all over the world.

“This acquisition brings technology that will accelerate biosensor product delivery along with a manufacturing and business development footprint at the heart of a critical market and talent pool in the USA. This is an expansion and not a movement.”

Somersham, Cambridgeshire-based Paragraf is using graphene, often referred to as a ‘wonder material’ to make sensors. It currently offers cryogenic, current and positioning sensors.

Michael Heltzen, CEO and co-founder of Cardea Bio, said: “Joining Paragraf allows us to use the world’s only mass-produced, transfer-free monolayer graphene to manufacture the state-of-the-art graphene-based biosensors developed by the Cardea team over the last ten years.”

Heltzen becomes Paragraf USA’s EVP of strategy as part of the deal. Paragraf raised £45m in a Series B round last year led by New Science Ventures.

Paragraf isn’t the only Cambridge tech company that sees more opportunities in the US. Semiconductor company Arm has now formally filed to IPO in the US, in a blow to London’s public markets.