China's Tigermed buys a $50M stake in a U.S. CRO

Chinese CRO Tigermed is buying its way into the U.S., signing a deal to trade $50.3 million for a majority stake in Pennsylvania's Frontage Laboratories.

Under the cash arrangement, Tigermed will take up a stateside operation with capabilities in bioanalysis, early-phase studies and drug development, tapping Frontage's experience in biopharma work from discovery to postmarketing trials. Frontage, which also has an operation in Shanghai, will continue to operate independently, the companies said, with Song Li staying on board as CEO.

For the Hangzhou-headquartered Tigermed, Frontage's focus on early development and chemistry manufacturing controls are an ideal complement to its late-stage expertise, CEO Xiaoping Ye said. And for the U.S. CRO, joining Tigermed will expose it to a larger client base in China and Asia at large, Li said.

"The two companies' track records in trial execution, combined geographic reach, and shared vision on quality delivery will position our combination as a global one-stop source for clinical development activities," Li said in a statement. "This partnership enables Frontage to offer its existing clients a more comprehensive solution for clinical trial support, from Phases I through IV."

Since its founding in 2004, Tigermed has grown into one of China's largest pharma outsourcing outfits, now employing about 1,000 people across its home country and Asia.

- read the announcement