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Earlybird Venture Capital exits Amaxa

Hamburg, Munich, May 27, 2008 - Lonza Group Ltd. (SWX: LONN) and amaxa GmbH jointly announced that Lonza, the leading supplier to the life sciences industries, acquires amaxa and all its activities. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. amaxa is a premium supplier to the cell discovery market with leading edge, proprietary technologies in well defined market niches of transfection systems. The transaction is subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities, which is expected to take place early Q3 2008. amaxa currently employs 160 people. The company's research team is one of the largest R&D groups working on non-viral gene transfer.

In 1998, Earlybird identified amaxa in the first business plan competition of 'NUK Neues Unternehmertum Köln' and supported amaxa in establishing their first business plan. The initial institutional financing round was funded by Earlybird in November 1988. A second financing round in May 2001, added 3i and TMK as additional institutional investors.

Rolf Mathies, Managing Partner at Earlybird and the investors´ representative on the Board of amaxa sees the entry of Lonza as proof of the Earlybird´s investment strategy: 'We are very satisfied with this significant exit of a company that was started in Cologne, Germany, very early on opened US operations in Gaithersburg, MD, USA, and now sold to a strategic buyer resulting in a double-digit investment multiple for seed investor Earlybird. This transaction reflects Earlybird´s portfolio strategy to invest in excellent German and European technology companies and add value to their international growth. With this amaxa realizes the vision we had at our initial investment.'

Rainer Christine, founder and CEO of amaxa comments on the successful and rewarding relationship with its first investor: 'Earlybird not only challenged us to develop a consistent business plan in the early days of amaxa. They coached us through all the years to implement successfully our business strategy and supported us in the next important step for amaxa: the sale to Lonza.'

About Earlybird:

Earlybird Venture Capital, established in 1997, is one of Europe's leading technology investors. Earlybird seeks to invest in companies led by outstanding people who are building technology enabled scalable companies for fast growing international markets. Earlybird invests primarily in early stage technology companies with a large business perspective, sourced from German speaking countries as well as the Nordics, France, Benelux and selectively the UK. The current investment focus includes software, semiconductor, communication, internet services, cleantech and medtech.

The Earlybird team creates value by understanding their target investment sectors well, adding their operational, entrepreneurial and financial expertise and working closely with each management team. Earlybird strongly supports the development of each company by professionalizing and shaping management teams, providing strategic and product advice, creating international investor syndicates, effecting corporate introductions and being closely involved in achieving appropriate exits.

Six of Earlybird's high-tech investee companies have floated on various European stock exchanges: Interhyp, Tipp24 and Wilex (all Prime Standard, Frankfurt), Esmertec (Swiss Exchange, Zurich), Entelos (London Stock Exchange) and NoemaLife (Borsa Italiana, Milan). In addition, Earlybird supported element 5 in its acquisition by Digital River, Identify in its acquisition by BMC Software, Alantos in its sale to Amgen for $300 million, AbaXX in its sale to Cordys and amaxa in its acquisition by Lonza.

For further information, please contact:

Daniela von Wedel

Earlybird Venture Capital
Van-der-Smissen Str. 3
22767 Hamburg
Telephone: +49 40 432941-0
Fax: +49 40 432941-29

About amaxa

As a globally active leader in transfection technologies, amaxa is dedicated to enhancing the speed and quality of basic and pharmaceutical research in gene transfer, gene silencing, and gene-based medicine. amaxa's Nucleofector® Technology provides the first efficient non-viral method for the transfer of DNA or siRNA directly into the nucleus of primary cells and hard-to-transfect cell lines.

Founded in 1998, amaxa is located in Cologne, Germany, and in Gaithersburg, MD, USA, and currently employs 160 people. The company's research team is one of the largest R&D groups working on non-viral gene transfer. For more information please visit

About Lonza

Lonza is one of the world's leading suppliers to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life science industries. Its products and services span its customers' needs from research to final product manufacture. Lonza is the global leader in the production and support of active pharmaceutical ingredients both chemically as well as biotechnologically.

Lonza is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange. In 2007, Lonza had sales of CHF 2.87 billion. Further information can be found at

Publisher Contact Information:

+49 40 432941-0

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