Wilmington, N.C.-based PPD, a global contract research organization (CRO), is spending its cash hoard in a buying spree to “dominate” the Asia-Pacific region. The CRO doled out $77 million for its latest acquisition of BioDuro, a drug discovery outsourcing company focused on integrated drug discovery programs and services. The deal was completed last week just a couple weeks after it paid cash for another CRO in China.
As of Sept. 30, 2009, PPD had $682.9 million in cash and investments. “Our goal is to become the number one services provider for the biopharmaceutical industry in China. We are a strong financial company with no debt, and we will continue to make investments in Asia Pacific, and China specifically, that bring a strong return for PPD,” said David Grange, chief executive officer of PPD.
With the BioDuro acquisition, PPD now employs more than 1,400 in Asia Pacific and nearly 1,000 people in China, making it the largest CRO to offer clinical development and discovery services in the country. PPD has offices in 38 countries and more than 10,500 professionals worldwide.
Founded in 2005, BioDuro operates a 110,000-square-foot laboratory in Beijing. With the vast majority of its employees based in China, the company focuses on providing integrated programs to synthesize and optimize novel compounds to generate drug development candidates.
“Our acquisition of BioDuro positions us to capitalize on the tremendous growth in Asia Pacific and to become the CRO of choice in China,” said Grange. “BioDuro has a premier reputation for delivering quality service and has built an exceptional team of researchers and scientists. We are very pleased to welcome BioDuro’s 660 employees into PPD.”
PPD also recently acquired Excel PharmaStudies, one of the largest CROs in China, expanding PPD’s clinical, data management, biostatistics, regulatory and quality assurance services in this rapidly growing market. PPD has offices throughout Asia-Pacific in addition to global central lab facilities in China and Singapore. PPD also paid an undisclosed amount of cash for Excel PharmaStudies, which has 370 employees.
The Excel acquisition was a coup for PPD since the China-based CRO was pursued by a number of other potential buyers in the past few years. The company said combining its drug development expertise with its global central laboratory operations in Beijing and Singapore positions PPD to deliver a broad set of services to biopharmaceutical to companies in China, Japan and throughout the region.
Founded in 2000, Excel provides a range of phase II through IV clinical services, including regulatory affairs, patient recruitment, protocol design, feasibility studies, good clinical practice training and program management. Beijing-based Excel has offices in 18 additional cities throughout China and operates a vaccine research center and biometrics center, both of which are located in Taizhou.
PPD opened its Beijing office in 2003, where it provides clinical development services. In 2008, it expanded its global central lab services into China through an exclusive agreement with Peking Union Lawke Biomedical Development Limited. In addition to Beijing and Hong Kong, PPD has offices in India, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea and Japan.