M&A, Outsourcing

Catalent inks $133M deal to buy Juniper Pharmaceuticals, adding UK development services

The biopharma contract developer and manufacturer Catalent $CTLT has swooped in to buy out Juniper Pharmaceuticals $JNP for $133 million, adding their services with an eye to amping up its early drug development offerings in the UK.

The buyout — at $11.50 a share — brings 150 staffers and their Juniper Pharma Services division in Nottingham. Catalent is looking to add their expertise on formulation development, bioavailability solutions and clinical-scale oral dose manufacturing to the company’s global operations. The company also manages the Crinone (progesterone gel) franchise.

Catalent has a market cap of $5.6 billion.

Juniper’s shares shot up 31% in pre-market trading Tuesday in the wake of the news. The contracting company brought in Rothschild back in January to help hunt up a deal.

Jonathan Arnold

Catalent has beefed up its early drug development contracting services on the East and West Coasts over the past two years, including the recent announcement that it was investing in its Somerset, NJ facility to beef up its work on preclinical to clinical Phase IIb formulation and manufacturing operations for oral small molecules . Buying Juniper will give them the chance to do more of the same in the UK, with a growing group of biotechs largely clustered around the Golden Triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

It’s not a large deal as these things go, but it is another example of the consolidation of the industry’s contract outsourcing companies, as the top 10 continue to swell in size.

Jonathan Arnold, the president of Catalent Oral Drug Delivery, remarked: “Juniper’s scientific expertise in early-phase product development and supply will help our customers unlock the full potential of their molecules and provide better treatments to patients, faster.”

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