A CRO looking to build its manufacturing side business has a new parent after Keensight snaps up majority stake
Dutch CRO Symeres has looked to grow its manufacturing side business, recognizing the benefit of synergy in contract research and production. That dual mission caught the eye of Keensight Capital, a French investment firm who has decided to go all in and steer the ship.
Keensight on Tuesday said it would pick up a majority stake in Symeres from Gilde Healthcare. Symeres specializes in small molecules and provides R&D services from preclinical discovery to Phase I/II clinical stages of drug development alongside its manufacturing offerings. The company is growing, and Keensight will help the company grow its operation over the next few years, Keensight partner Amit Karna said.
“What we see is the CROs and CDMOs with a perfect track record, a long enduring track record, very high quality standards, that these are differentiated businesses that clients come to so if you can find a diamond business … it’s a great business opportunity,” Karna said.
Symeres employs 500 people over six sites in the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands. It’s expected to reach over €70 million in sales in 2021, according to a release. Apart from Symeres’ one-stop-shop appeal, Karna said there’s been a ton of interest in the contract space as drug innovation grows increasingly consolidated in biotech, where manufacturing and research infrastructure is small, versus pharma, where resources are immense.
“What you basically see is the whole trend in the industry is the whole innovations of new medicines and new molecules is not with the big pharma companies anymore as it was 15 years ago, but its with the biotech companies,” Symeres CEO Eelco Ebbers said in an interview with Endpoints News.
As for Keensight, the 20-year-old company first entered the pharmaceutical space in 2015 with a focus as a force multiplier for established companies — including hiring more employees, and building out a commercial and business development presence. Keensight already sports three CDMOs in its portfolio, but Symeres is the first of those firms that has a CRO wing.
“You take a lot of burden from the customer providing a single solution for them, because of all the knowledge that you have,” Ebbers said. “If you’re only in the CDMO space, then you’re relying on things that have been done before, and you see that all of a sudden you have a clinical candidate and then you need to work. And with us at Symeres, the basic knowledge is there and you see everything in that pipeline coming through.”