Carlyle Group injects $260M into a leading cardio player in China, grabbing a seat at the deals table
The Carlyle Group is investing $260 million to grab a minority stake in Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceutical, a storied generic maker that’s increasingly investing in new drug R&D.
The cash is good for a 5% stake in Shenzhen-listed Salubris, giving the private equity player access to a portfolio of treatments and devices in the cardiovascular, oncology and anti-infective areas. As the Chinese government’s reimbursement reforms spur consolidation in the generic drug market, some players are poised to gain market share, Carlyle noted in a statement.
While Salubris’ revenues have historically been driven by sales of mainstays like the blood thinners clopidogrel and bivalirudin, the company’s been upping its bet on early-stage drug development.
That means in-licensing enarodustat, a hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH) inhibitor, from Japan’s JT; taking the lead on backing Viracta, a biotech working on viral-associated cancers; as well as pushing through internally discovered candidates, including an angiotensin receptor-NEP inhibitor and a recombinant fusion protein for heart failure.
Leveraging Carlyle’s expertise, network and resources, Salubris says it is looking to expand both domestically and globally — with plans to do more trials overseas. M&A is also on the table.
For Carlyle, it’s a chance to tap into “one of the strongest franchises” in the cardio- and cerebrovascular (CCV) segment in China, said Ling Yang, a managing director of the Carlyle Asia Buyout advisory team. Salubris is now the second largest domestic company in the space, according to Carlyle.
The firm boasts of long-standing operations in China built over 20 years, investing more than $9.5 billion worth of equity as it entered the second half of 2020.
More prominent in its China deal streak are the investments in the peptide API manufacturer Ambio and the clinical laboratory Adicon, among other moves in medtech and healthcare.
Globally, Carlyle — which has recruited retired Pfizer chief Ian Read to be a deal scout — has been known for its role as a major investor in contract research or development/manufacturing organizations, including PPD and AMRI. Most recently it struck a deal with India’s Piramal Pharma to purchase around 20% of its shares for $490 million.