U.K. CRO emerges from $100M in deals with plans for more M&A

With the help of U.K. investor Equistone, newly minted CRO Concept Life Sciences has snapped up three contractors and set out to do business as a conglomerate, scouting for clients looking to outsource scientific work.

Concept is the result of about $100 million in deals that brought in Peakdale Molecular, Resource & Environmental Consultants and Scientific Analysis Laboratories, three U.K. testing outfits with client rosters across the sciences. Combined, the group will first focus on lab-based analytical testing and complex chemistry synthesis with plans to further expand into biologics and pharmacokinetics, Concept said.

Equistone, which dipped into its £1.5 billion ($2.6 billion) fourth fund to get Concept off the ground, has taken a majority stake in the company. Alan Morgan, a veteran of Covance ($CVD) and Icon ($ICLR), will take the reins as CEO, and former Synexus CEO Michael Fort will serve as executive chairman.

The company plans to hit the ground running with about 500 employees across 10 sites in the U.K., setting up its headquarters in Manchester. Each of Concept's target markets are growing more than 5% per year, Morgan told the Financial Times, and the company hopes to work its way up to £100 million ($171.3 million) in revenue by year three.

Concept has a buy-and-build plan for its future development, integrating its recent additions while looking for opportunities to further expand its presence in the life, food and environmental sciences, the company said.

"Each of the companies we have acquired is a recognized leader in its field with an established client base," Fort said in a statement. "We believe these companies will experience growth at an even greater pace and see genuine benefit from being part of Concept Life Sciences. The U.K. is a leader in life sciences and an excellent base from which to expand an international science group."

- read the announcement
- here's the FT article (sub.req.)

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