China's Tigermed acquires $50m majority stake in Frontage Labs

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Tigermed acquires $50m majority stake in Frontage Labs
Chinese CRO Tigermed has entered a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in the ownership of CRO Frontage Laboratories for $50.25m in cash, some of which the company will use to expand clinical capacity in New Jersey.

Frontage will continue to operate independently and Song Li will continue to serve as CEO Frontage, which will also see its current management team remain in place after the transaction.

Exton, Pennsylvania-based Frontage focuses on bioanalysis, preclinical and early phase clinical studies, drug development (CMC) services and DMPK support for biopharmaceutical organizations. The investment will help Frontage broaden clinical service capabilities and increase capacity, with recently finalized plans to build a new 33,000 square foot clinical research center in Secaucus, NJ. This facility, scheduled to open during the final months of 2014.

"Frontage plans to offer a greater depth of service with increased capacity, more instrumentation and additional staff resources​," Frontage spokeswoman Katherine Cloninger told us.

"After completion of a new research facility, the company will nearly triple clinic capacity in NJ,​" she added.

"For bioanalytical and DMPK service areas (Exton, PA), Frontage added new LCMS instruments that will increase our operational capacity by approximately 20% for method development, validation and sample analysis of small and large molecule projects​," Cloninger said. 

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Xiaoping Ye, Founder and CEO of Tigermed, said his company is continuing “to develop our capabilities in order to enhance our development solution offerings and help our customers reduce the time and cost of product development... Frontage’s capabilities in preclinical and early clinical development will help further differentiate and enhance Tigermed services as a comprehensive development service partner by helping our customers advance their product development programs more efficiently​.”

Frontage previously moved into the Chinese market by offering regulatory and GMP compliance consulting as part of a $10m deal with drugmaker Fanghui Pharma​.

Song Li, Founder and CEO of Frontage, added, “Frontage’s specialties in early phase development and CMC services are wholly complementary to Tigermed’s strengths in late phase clinical development in China and other Asia Pacific countries. The two companies’ track records in trial execution, combined geographic reach, and shared vision on quality delivery will position our combination as a global one-stop source for clinical development activities​.

This partnership enables Frontage to offer its existing clients a more comprehensive solution for clinical trial support, from Phases I through IV. In turn, Tigermed’s clients will now have better access to early phase development solutions to facilitate efficient development programs​,” Li noted.

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