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Peakdale adds discovery offering to PE-backed testing services group

By Gareth MacDonald+

08-Jul-2014
Last updated on 08-Jul-2014 at 14:41 GMT

Peakdale Molecular
Peakdale Molecular

Pharma services firm Peakdale Molecular has joined with two UK environmental testing providers to form Concept Life Sciences in a private-equity backed agreement.

The new $100m (€73.5m) organisation – which combines Peakdale with Resource & Environmental Consultants Limited and Scientific Analysis Laboratories – has named former Covance, Icon and RPS staffer Alan Morgan as CEO and ex Synexus chief Michael Fort as chairman.

The idea is to provide testing services for the food, manufacturing and drug industries, with Peakdale’s capabilities in discovery, in vitro ADMET and medicinal chemistry services forming the foundation for the pharma-focused offering.

Morgan told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: “The current focus of Peakdale is in discovery, but we see clear opportunities to develop our preclinical services. We have a well-established cell-based ADME capability in Peakdale, but Concept will be dramatically increasing the capacity and support to this important service line in direct response to customer requests.

The analytical testing base of the SAL group is primarily focused upon Food and Consumer products, but does already have some pharma capability. Concept will be investing a significant amount of capital to expand and enhance the existing SAL analytical capabilities to service pharma and biotech clients.

Providing temperature controlled storage is a core service offering for SAL and, again, Concept will be assisting the expansion of that service to better address the pharma market. Temperature controlled storage will be co-located with state-of-the-art analytical testing capabilities.

Private equity backing

The management-led deal was backed by private equity investor Equistone Partners Europe.

Morgan explained that: “Equistone has a majority stake in Concept with the balance being owned by the management team” going on to say that “the backing from Equistone is testament to the core strength in the initial acquisitions and the growth potential in the market combined with the expertise and experience of the management team at Concept.

This was echoed by Equistone Partners director, Steve O’Hare, who said the formation of Concept Life Sciences has “created a platform to target international growth and expand its service offering to existing clients.”

He added that: “We also look forward to developing the business further through the execution of its buy-and-build strategy.”

Discovery demand

News of the Peakdale acquisition comes just weeks after the UK firm reported a “significant increase” in demand for R&D services from drug industry clients.

Speaking on June 19 Peakdale’s chief executive officer, Ray Fisher, said: “Over the last year this has been borne out by a pick-up in business from both new and returning customers.”

Together with significant growth in its traditional market in the UK and mainland Europe, Peakdale has made good progress in the US which the company anticipates will be a source of major growth for the company in the present fiscal year.”

Fisher will become Concept’s chief scientific officer.

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