Quotient Clinical snapped up by Gillings-founded buyout firm

U.K. CRO Quotient Clinical has changed private equity hands, as a European healthcare fund co-founded by former Quintiles ($Q) CEO Dennis Gillings has acquired the company for an undisclosed sum.

Quotient is now the property of GHO Capital, a firm founded in 2014 to buy up assets in healthcare. Gillings, who launched Quintiles in 1982, is among GHO's founders, joining veterans of TPG, 3i and JP Morgan. The Quotient acquisition marks GHO's second deal, following a €104 million October buyout of testing specialist DNA Diagnostics Center.

London-headquartered Quotient is only two years removed from its last change in ownership, becoming part of Bridgepoint Development Capital in late 2013 after operating independently for nearly 20 years. The CRO has grown to employ more than 280 people and expanded its services to include formulation development, manufacturing and clinical trials.

GHO Partner Mike Mortimer

Mike Mortimer, a former Quintiles vice president now serving as executive partner at GHO, said the firm was itching to buy into the fast-growing CRO business, and Quotient presented an ideal opportunity.

"Outsourced services and contract development and manufacturing is a space that GHO Capital knows extremely well," Mortimer said in a statement. "Quotient Clinical has a highly attractive business model which can be scaled and expanded--particularly across Europe and the USA--making this an excellent investment opportunity for our fund."

Over the past 5 years, CROs have made attractive targets for private equity firms, which have found a path to profitability by buying and merging contractors and then taking them public. A group led by TPG executed that model with Quintiles in 2013, and KKR did the same with PRA Health Sciences ($PRAH) last year.

- read the statement