CRO Novotech picks up PE investment to expand in Asia

Novotech CEO Alek Safarian

Australia's Novotech has sold off a 30% stake to private equity firm Mercury Capital, planning to use the money to spread its reach across Asia.

Neither company is disclosing financial terms, but the deal gives Mercury an option to up its share to 50% at a later date, and Clark Perkins, the fund's founder, told The Wall Street Journal that Novotech is poised to grow far beyond Australia, where it is the largest independent CRO.

"There's a strong trend of major pharmaceutical companies outsourcing, which has led to underlying annual compound growth in the market of between 5% and 10%," Perkins told WSJ. "Novotech is growing much faster than this."

Novotech is currently managing about 70 clinical trials in oncology, cardiovascular and other fields, the company said, and Mercury's cash infusion will help it focus on the fast-growing Asian market.

"We are already active in 10 countries in the region on behalf of our biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients," CEO Alek Safarian said in a statement. "This investment will further accelerate our expansion plans."

The Sydney-headquartered Novotech has already expanded into Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea since its founding in 1996, and the company is looking to grow its presence in the region now that more and more drugmakers are looking to get therapies on the Asian market.

- read Novotech's announcement
- check out the WSJ story

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