Report: VC giant Sequoia unloading $50M stake in India's GVK

Indian CRO GVK Biosciences has become a global player since Sequoia Capital first bought a stake back in 2007, and now the venture capital stalwart is looking to sell its share at more than three times the price, according to The Economic Times.

Sequoia has reached out to investment bank Avendus to help it look for buyers, according to the newspaper, planning to cash out of the fast-growing CRO amid a changing market in India. Seven years ago, the VC firm paid about $16 million for a 20% stake in GVK, ET reports, a share now valued at roughly $50 million.

GVK's rapid rise has taken it from a local player in India to an international force, and the company made a grand entry into the U.S. biologics development last month with a buyout of California's Aragen Bioscience. Among the CRO's clients are Astellas, Bayer, Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP), Onconova ($ONTX) and the FDA.

However, Sequoia's timing may have as much to do with India's regulatory environment as GVK's growth. The country is in the midst of applying sweeping changes to its once-lax clinical trial laws, and the sudden change has torpedoed demand for studies in the country, with trials falling 93% year-over-year in 2013, according to a report.

But GVK has been working to become a global entity not dependent on any single market, and it's making some progress. The CRO, which now employs roughly 2,400 people, derives much of its revenue on GOSTAR, a geography-agnostic database of biological targets that it has licensed to drugmakers, academics and regulatory bodies. And now, with the Aragen deal providing an American beachhead, the CRO expects to deepen its western ties.

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