PPD buys CRO, creates spin-offs and invests $100M in Celtic

PPD has pulled off a triple play, announcing in a string of releases that it acquired a large contract research organization in China, plans to invest $100 million in Celtic Therapeutics as it sets the stage for a strategic alliance, and is spinning off its compound partnering business into two new companies.

The deal to acquire Excel PharmaStudies gives PPD a major inroad into the rapidly expanding market drug development industry in
China. Excel has offices in 15 cities and employs more than 300 people, offering a range of services for clinical trials from Phase II to
Phase IV. Last spring the company announced plans to open a biometrics center.

The deal to invest $100 million in the private equity group Celtic Therapeutics gives PPD a direct interest in a company that is looking for a more efficient way to advance a portfolio of late-stage drug programs. "Built upon the leadership and track records of Stephen Evans-Freke and Peter B. Corr, Celtic Therapeutics has a team of seasoned drug development professionals we believe is capable of building one of the most highly valued late-stage portfolios in the global biomedical industry," said Fred Eshelman, executive chairman of PPD.

Eshelman, meanwhile, was also bullish about its new spinoffs. "The compound partnering business will have the opportunity to focus on developing and commercializing its drug candidates and to access external capital, if needed, without any constraints associated with operating in combination with the CRO business," said the company. "While our innovative compound partnering program has benefited PPD over the years, we believe by separating this business from our core CRO business we can unlock the intrinsic value of both businesses," said Eshelman.

- read PPD's release on the CRO buyout
- here's the release on the Celtic investment
- see the release on the spin-outs