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Private equity firm buys Omnicare CR

By Nick Taylor , 02-May-2011
Last updated on 02-May-2011 at 10:21 GMT

Omnicare Clinical Research (CR) has become the latest CRO to be acquired by a private equity (PE) firm.

Nautic Partners has bought the contract research organisation (CRO) from its public owner, Omnicare, Inc. Interest in Omnicare CR was “intense”, said company CEO James Pusey, but Nautic was viewed as the best partner to build on strengths at the CRO.

Chris Crosby, managing director at Nautic, said: “Omnicare CR has carved out an attractive niche in the CRO industry as a global, full-service provider serving the mid-sized pharmaceutical market, the medical device market and the biotechnology market.”

Omnicare CR operates in 32 countries, across Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe, and employs 900 people. Crosby said: “Once we looked at the financials, it was evident that this was a healthy company with great potential in a growing market.

Nautic will fully support Omnicare CR on a strategic level and with additional capital for growth. We have complete confidence that with our added support, company leadership will maximize efforts around the great work that has already being done, adding to Omnicare CR’s profitability.”

As part of the deal Nautic has also acquired five years of exclusive access to Omnicare’s proprietary database of de-identified information for use in clinical research.

Market conditions

Omnicare, Inc chose to sell the unit after deciding the “business is no longer a good strategic fit within the company's portfolio of assets”. Also, the unit has faced “unfavourable market conditions”.

The operating loss in the CRO Services business was primarily attributable to lower levels of new business added, as well as early project terminations by clients and client-driven delays in the commencement of certain projects”, said Omnicare in a regulatory filing.

In the first quarter Omnicare CR posted a pre-tax operating loss of $2.5m (€1.7m), down from $5.3m a year earlier. This improvement occurred despite a 14 per cent drop in net sales.

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