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June 04, 2015

Have You Noticed: The Boom in CRO Deals

Trends from the Transactions Universe

There have been at least eight M&A transactions involving pure play Contract Research Organization firms between January 2014 and May 2015 - versus just five deals in the entire three year period prior to 2014.

Of these transactions, four have been domestic deals and three Inbound. The only Outbound transaction was GVK Biosciences' acquisition of US-based Aragen Bioscience which specializes in high-value biologics services. The Sequoia Capital India-backed GVK Bio was also a buyer domestically - acquiring Chennai-based Vanta Bioscience which offers toxicology evaluation services for the pharmaceutical, biotech, food supplements and feed additives industries. (GVK also excercised its call option to buy out Dai-Ichi Karkaria's entire stake in their joint venture Inogent which offers a mix of services  - Process R&D and Custom Chemical Synthesis & Manufacturing - and Products - APIs and Intermediates.)

While GVK has been a buyer, recent months have witnessed two large, NCR-headquartered business groups - Max India and Fortis Hospitals - sell off their CRO arms. While Max Neeman Medical International was acquired by Canada-based JSS Medical Research Inc., Fortis Clinical Research Ltd was sold to Chennai-based Quest Life Sciences.

Among Inbound deals from the US, Parexel International Corp acquired the assets of Chandigarh-based Quantum Solutions India (QSI), while Par Pharmaceuticals acquired Chennai-based Ethics Biolabs. An intra-Hyderabad deal witnesssed Indovation Technologies buying out Sristek Clinical Research Solutions, while venture-backed Karmic Lifesciences was sold to Ahmedabad-based Cliantha Research.

Is the sector set to witness even more consolidation? Keep track of transactions in CRO and other sectors via the Venture Intelligence Deal Digest Newsletters and M&A Deals Database.

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