Cinven acquires $1.4bn clinical trials provider

Cinven has acquired clinical trials services provider Bioclinica from US private equity firms Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners.

Cinven has acquired clinical trials services provider Bioclinica from private equity firms Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners for around $1.4 billion.

The firm’s representatives said it will pursue a buy-and-build strategy and has already identified two bolt-on opportunities for the contract research organisation (CRO).

“[Bioclinica’s] strong position in its markets will enable it to grow both organically and through targeted investment in M&A activity. Bioclinica has already proven its ability to acquire and integrate businesses successfully, and the Cinven team intends to accelerate the company’s growth through acquisitions in the space,” Anthony Santospirito, a principal at Cinven said.

Santaspirito added: “Cinven is also going to work with management to support Bioclinica’s expansion into Asia, with the help of our portfolio team based in Hong Kong.”

The investment in the Pennsylvania-based CRO was made from Cinven’s sixth fund which closed in June on €7 billion. The London-based firm had earmarked up to 10 percent of the fund for investment in the United States.

JLL took Bioclinica private in a $123 million deal in early 2013, acquiring medical-imaging company CoreLab Partners at the same time and merging the two businesses. In 2014 Bioclinica was merged with CCBR-Synarc, a clinical trial services provider owned by healthcare investment specialist Water Street.

JLL and Water Street said they had made eight acquisitions during their ownership of Bioclinica and that revenues have doubled in the last two years.

The sale of Bioclinica also represented an exit for healthcare investor Ampersand, which owned CoreLab, and Boston venture firm SV Life Sciences, which was an early investor in CoreLab.

BioClinica counts more than 400 pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies among its clients across the US, Europe and Asia.

The deal follows Cinven’s floatation earlier this month of portfolio company Medpace, another CRO, on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, which aimed to raise up to $150 million. The firm bought the CRO from CCMP Capital Advisors for $915 million in 2014.

In September Cinven made a 5x return by selling speciality pharmaceutical distributor AMCo to Concordia for £2.3 billion ($3.5 billion; €3.2 billion).