CRO Altasciences sees opportunity in fragmented early clinical development space

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

Altasciences has three clinical research facilities in North America. (Image: iStock/Mike_Kiev)
Altasciences has three clinical research facilities in North America. (Image: iStock/Mike_Kiev)

Related tags: Early clinical development, Clinical trial

Altasciences Company has been acquired by Audax Private Equity as it looks to expand in the fragmented early clinical development space.

Audax acquired the early-phase contract research organization (CRO) from Kilmer Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Toronto, Canada that owned the CRO for the past ten years.

The Laval, Quebec-headquartered company has been on the market since January, Chris Perkin, CEO, Altasciences, told us, and received interest from both private equity and strategic partners.

Ultimately, Perkin said Audax was the best fit for the company as it looks to move forward with its growth plan and augment its clinical capabilities and expertise.

“[We see] an opportunity in the market to expand into more services to offer that early drug development CRO continuum rather than just focusing on the clinic​,” Perkin explained.

We’re looking to continue to grow our clinical capabilities and expertise but to add to that additional services which provide the client base with the opportunity to take the drug from lead candidate selection right way through proof of concept,” ​he added.

Altasciences has three clinical research facilities including Algorithme Pharma, Vince & Associates Clinical Research, and Algorithme Pharma USA.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Opportunities for expansion

Looking at late stage providers 10 or 15 years ago, the companies that were mainly in Phase III studies have now diversified and expanded their business into all aspects of late stage development, explained Perkin.

There’s a whole bunch of different areas they’re moving into … they’re less and less reliant on just that original core business​,” he said.

Compared to early stage clinical development, Perkin said the industry hasn’t diversified in the same way, with preclinical, early clinical, formulation, and others still standing alone.

Early clinical development is very, very fragmented​,” he explained. “There are hundreds and hundreds of relatively small providers in what is a multibillion-dollar space​.”

However, “the problem with preclinical to clinical is that they don’t talk the same language even though in progression they sit next to each other​,” he added.

According to Perkin, this presents the early-phase CRO with opportunities for expansion, as the industry looks for a single provider to take them through proof of concept.

We see the years of delay in studies or areas of difficulty around formulation, regulatory, and there’s also a gap between phase I and proof of concept,”​ he said. “[These are] all areas that present opportunities for expansion.​”

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