Pharmaceutical services company United BioSource Corporation (UBC) will use its newly-secured $150 million line of credit to fuel its fast-paced growth and acquisition spree, CEO Ethan Leder said in an interview with CWWeekly.
Privately-held UBC, based in Bethesda, Md., has made four acquisitions in the past 18 months, expanding its scientific and medical affairs portfolio aimed at helping life sciences companies develop and commercialize their products. In addition, UBC opened offices in Germany and Japan this year and now has more than 1,400 employees in 21 countries.
UBC plans to acquire additional businesses that fit into the company’s peri- and post-approval research niche, said Leder, and will continue to expand overseas, including opening another office in Asia within the next nine months. “This capital will allow us to aggressively pursue our internal investments and targeted acquisition strategy,” he said.
Since its inception in 2003, UBC has grown its business each year, including 2009 when the company experienced a low double-digit revenue increase despite an overall slowdown in the industry. Leder expects the company will see close to $300 million in revenue this year.
UBC specializes in offering services to biopharmaceutical and medical device companies that need scientific evidence about their products’ medical effectiveness, safety and economic value in the peri- and post-approval environments. Demand for these services has grown in recent years as new federal regulations allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require post-approval safety studies, while at the same time government regulators and health insurance organizations increasingly require comparative effectiveness data to support the value of new products.
“Our business is all about that market access,” Leder said. “What kind of scientific and evidence-based support are you going to need, not just to get through the regulatory agencies—the FDA, EMEA and other agencies—but what are you going to need to satisfy the other requirements, whether they be posed by payers or by governmental entities or quasi-governmental entities?”
This is UBC’s second round of funding in the last nine months. In October, Boston-based Berkshire Partners made a $125 million growth equity investment to support the company’s acquisition and expansion strategy. This latest line of credit was provided by Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, Capital One and JPMorgan Chase.
UBC, which was formed with $153 million in private equity investment, has acquired some 15 companies since it was founded. Two years ago, industry analysts speculated that UBC might be prepping for an entry into the public markets after it made nearly a dozen acquisitions and opened new offices in order to become a major player in the post-approval area. Now that the company has secured the additional $150 million line of credit, Leder said the company has no plans to pursue an initial public offering. “We are happily private. Now we’ve got $150 million of pretty cheap money, so we are going to continue to build the company at this point.”