M&A, Outsourcing

Evotec expands global discovery, development ops with $300M Aptuit buyout

Germany’s Evotec is beefing up its contract drug development organization, buying out rival Aptuit in a deal that will add hundreds of scientists to its organization along with facilities in Basel, Oxford and Verona, Italy. Evotec is paying $300 million in cash for the company and its roster of hundreds of biopharma clients that have looked to Aptuit for everything from discovery through clinical services and into manufacturing.

Evotec is an aggressive organization, which has earned the loyalty of a large number of clients on both sides of the Atlantic. That kind of loyalty has kept a long lineup of biotechs coming back in search of added support on the R&D side, providing the kind of flexibility that allows many of these groups to keep their own staffs lean and mean. And it has remained competitive while rivals like China’s WuXi and many others in the discovery and early development CRO world who are equally aggressive in lining up their own true believers around the world.

Werner Lanthaler

Evotec says most of Aptuit’s 750 employees are scientists, lauding the work they’ve done. Last year, they say Aptuit handled 1,000 projects for some 400 companies, and they will want to continue the relationship — which should help with job security.

The German group has plenty of big and little partners as well. Last fall, for example, it struck a discovery deal with Bayer for chronic kidney disease. In December Celgene paid the outsourcing group $45 million to help steer their first programs in neurodegeneration. But they can get creative about deal-making will small developers as well. They’ve taken equity in lieu of cash from startups like Toronto-based Fibrocor and invest in biotech startups like Dublin-based Carrick Therapeutics as well.

Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler had this to say:

Bringing together two major players in the drug discovery industry is a big step forward for Evotec to expand our unique focus in external innovation for Pharma, biotech and foundations. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the employees of Aptuit within the Evotec Group after closing of the transaction.


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