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12 November, 2019 - 10:08 By Kate Sweeney

FlexEnable acquisition of Merck portfolio taps into $100bn market

Cambridge-based flexible electronics business FlexEnable has paid an undisclosed sum for Merck’s portfolio of best-in-class, high-performance Organic Thin-Film Transistor (OTFT) materials, including revolutionary and highly-patented organic semiconductors and dielectrics.

FlexEnable says the deal makes it the first company to offer display manufacturers both the only OTFT materials which are proven to have higher performance than amorphous silicon, and an entire package of industrially-proven manufacturing processes needed for production of flexible organic liquid crystal displays (OLCD) of any size. 

With this material set and manufacturing IP, flat panel display companies can produce low-cost, area-scalable flexible displays, sensors and devices for mass-market applications such as consumer electronics, automotive, retail and beyond.

The acquisition of Merck’s OTFT materials – now branded as FlexEnable FlexiOM™ – includes over 300 patents covering materials, processes and devices. This brings FlexEnable's total number of organic electronics patents to over 1,000.

FlexiOM™ materials, together with FlexEnable’s proprietary low-temperature processes, allow glass TFT backplanes to be replaced with flexible OTFT backplanes enabling thin, lightweight, shatterproof and flexible devices. 

The deal includes all of the trailblazing IP and know-how developed by Merck over nearly 20 years as well as the necessary materials supply chain. 

FlexEnable is now employing key members of technical staff responsible for the development of the materials and intends to continue to advance and broaden this materials platform going forward.

“Across industries such as consumer electronics and automotive, flexible displays are the catalyst for the next generation of experiences and products,” said Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable.

“We have been working closely with Merck’s organic materials portfolio and team for many years and we saw here a unique synergy with our expertise that would put us ahead of the competition to replace flat glass displays in what is currently a $100 billion addressable market.

“The addition of FlexiOM™ materials to our industry-leading processes will significantly increase our revenue opportunity and further strengthen our business model, while providing a rapid route for display makers to commercialise large-area flexible displays needed now for many applications.” 

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