Baird China team completes debut deal

The firm has invested $10m in Frontage Laboratories alongside US venture firm Pavilion Capital Partners.

Baird Capital Partners Asia has led a $10 million (€6.3 million) round of growth capital funding for Frontage Laboratories, a research services provider for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The investment is the Baird Asia team’s first since formally beginning direct investment activities in the region just a month ago.

US firm Pavilion Capital Partners, existing shareholders and members of management team invested alongside Baird. The investment will help to accelerate the company’s growth, as well as allow Frontage to expand its service offerings to customers in China and the US, Baird said in a statement.

Frontage has facilities in Pennsylvania and Shanghai, and serves four of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Baird said. The company assists clients with product development, and helps push drug candidates through preclinical and clinical development stages to commercialization.

Baird’s Asia team targets small companies based in China in the manufacturing, business services or healthcare sectors, as well as companies based outside of China that have a Greater China investment thesis and substantial operations in China.

The US middle market firm has been active in China since 2003, when it established a team of 20 operating professionals to help its US and European portfolio companies with sourcing, manufacturing and distributing in Asia. Last month, Baird launched a seven-person investment team to work alongside the existing operating team out of Baird’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The deal team is led by partners Hock Goh, Huaming Gu and Brett Tucker, as well as investment committee chairman Bruce Allen. Goh has been a Baird operating partner in China since 2004; Gu was previously a senior vice president at EQT Partners Asia and Tucker was most recently a principal at Baird. Allen was previously chief executive officer of Hong Kong private equity firm AIF Capital.

Baird director Paul Carbone told PEO at the team’s launch that it would target “smaller companies that don’t necessarily have access to the same sort of capital markets and financing opportunities that other companies operating in more mature marketplaces have”.