FairJourney Biologics is a Portugal-based provider of antibody discovery, engineering and production services that has worked with biopharma companies including Argenx and Genmab.
Since being set up in 2012 by former employees of Ablynx, a biotech that Sanofi bought for €3.9bn ($4.3bn), the service provider has increased its sales quickly, achieving a claimed compound annual growth rate of more than 30% in recent years.
The growth caught the attention of GHO Capital, a London-based investment group with a history of working with contract service providers. Late last year, GHO raised €975m to make a fresh round of investments.
FairJourney is among the companies to receive money from GHO. Neither party has disclosed the size of the investment but GHO has outlined what attracted it to FairJourney and the changes it aims to facilitate through its involvement with the service provider.
Having added FairJourney to its portfolio, GHO will provide the service provider with money, sector expertise and access to its international network. GHO thinks those resources will help FairJourney to add capacity and capabilities to become “a scaled global leader in outsourced biologics discovery and development services.”
Acquisitions are part of the growth strategy. That openness to inorganic growth is in keeping with the blueprints followed by other GHO portfolio companies such as BioAgilytix, a bioanalytical testing service provider that bought Cambridge Biomedical to gain a presence in Massachusetts, US, last year.
Geographic expansion may also be part of FairJourney’s strategy. All of the customers disclosed by FairJourney in a 2018 presentation are based in Europe. In a statement about the investment by GHO, FairJourney CEO Antonio Parada suggested a desire to expand in the US was one factor behind the deal.
Parada said, “With [GHO’s] recent track record of creating transatlantic leaders in the outsourced services space, significant global network and expertise in biologics we can take our proven business model to a new scale. We will deliver more services and capacity to our growing global client base.”
GHO thinks its new portfolio company is positioned to grow, pointing to the estimated 15% annual growth of the market served by FairJourney to make its case. The growth estimate is underpinned by growth in R&D spending, the shift toward biologics and increased outsourcing penetration.