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Aptuit sold for $300 million

Evotec says its deal for the contract research firm will extend its expertise into clinical development services

by Marc S. Reisch
August 2, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 32

Credit: Aptuit
An Aptuit scientist at work in one of the firm’s research facilities.
An Aptuit scientist enters data on a screen in a lab.
Credit: Aptuit
An Aptuit scientist at work in one of the firm’s research facilities.

Pharmaceutical research firm Evotec has signed a definitive agreement to acquire contract research firm Aptuit from private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $300 million. The transaction will extend Evotec’s preclinical drug discovery expertise into clinical development services.

The deal will combine Greenwich, Conn.-based Aptuit, which has annual sales of more than $100 million, earnings of $13 million, and 750 employees, with Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec, which has sales of $193 million, earnings of $42 million, and more than 1,200 employees.

In a sign that Evotec shareholders like the deal, Evotec’s shares gained 4% on July 31 after news of the deal, giving the firm a market value of nearly $2.1 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of September.

Founded in 1993, Evotec’s strategy has been to offer integrated drug discovery services to customers through preclinical development. Evotec says the acquisition of Aptuit will extend its capabilities to investigational new drug submissions and further into drug manufacture.

Aptuit was formed in 2004 by Michael A. Griffith, former head of the pharmaceutical chemistry firm ChiRex. Today, Aptuit operates out of three sites: Verona, Italy; Oxford, England; and Basel, Switzerland. The Oxford active pharmaceutical ingredient facility originally belonged to Evotec, but Aptuit bought it for $64 million in 2007, along with a drug fill and finish operation in Scotland.

Both Aptuit and Evotec have grown by acquiring customers’ facilities. In 2015, Evotec bought Sanofi’s small-molecule drug development site in Toulouse, France. The $275 million deal included the transfer of 208 chemists and other researchers to Evotec.

In 2010, Aptuit bought GlaxoSmithKline’s Verona, Italy, research site. About 500 GSK employees, most of whom were scientists, joined Aptuit.



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