Croatia’s Optimapharma bolsters CEE presence with MKS Research buy

By purchasing MKS Research, Optimapharma aims to become the largest local CRO in Central and Eastern Europe. (Image: Pixabay/Julius_Silver)

Croatian CRO Optimapharma is acquiring Czech peer MKS Research, with the aim to become the largest local CRO in Central and Eastern Europe over the next three years.

With the MKS acquisition, the company, which already has 10 offices in several European countries, will enter the Czech market and increase its full-time headcount to 120. Its annual revenue will also surpass €12 million (about $14.6 million).

The company said in a release that the move is in line with its midterm strategic goal of becoming the largest independent CRO in CEE.

“[O]ur ambition is to double our revenues over the next three years, and continue acquiring good-quality companies such as MKS Research,” Optimapharma CEO Gordana Gregurić Čičak said in a statement.

Established in 2005, Optimapharma offers clinical research services spanning phase 1 through phase 4 for the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries. It focuses primarily in the therapeutic areas of oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and has also taken part in international programs in pulmonology, central nervous system and psychiatry.

The consolidation trend in the CRO industry has clearly spread across the globe. Many such M&As entail geographic expansions—some even on a transatlantic or transpacific scale.

LabCorp, for example, which already owns Covance, put forward $1.2 billion for U.K. firm Chiltern last July. British CRO Quotient Sciences (formerly Quotient Clinical) tapped into the U.S. market last February with two acquisitions in a row, including Charles River’s QS Pharma. In October, WuXi AppTec strengthened its clinical development expertise and global presence by snapping up U.S.-headquartered ResearchPoint Global.