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Strategic deals drive Catalent’s $410m move for Aptuit assets

By Nick Taylor , 23-Aug-2011

Catalent is to buy clinical trial supply assets from Aptuit for $410m (€285m) as it adds scale to handle the shift to preferred provider relationships.

Buying clinical packaging and logistics assets from Aptuit will “roughly double” Catalent Pharma Solutions’ presence in the sector. Catalent is making the deal to meet demand from clients who are outsourcing more to a smaller pool of partners as they consolidate vendor networks.

We’re seeing a separation of large, global providers from smaller, one location companies. And that separation is accelerating”, Scott Houlton, president, development and clinical services at Catalent, told Outsourcing-Pharma.

Catalent has been expanding existing sites but is accelerating the process through acquisition. When the deal closes Aptuit will transfer 900 employees and six sites, two in the UK, three in the US, and one in Singapore, to Catalent.

The site in Singapore gives Catalent its first clinical trial supply presence in Asia. As well as adding scale and geographic reach, the deal moves Catalent into biologics and cold-chain logistics. Catalent will also add pharmaceutical development capabilities by taking on the Kansas City, Missouri site.

More capabilities may be added through further acquisitions. Catalent is actively looking at takeover opportunities, Houlton said, including deals to add drug delivery technologies and geographic reach.

In terms of deal size the Aptuit assets are a “middle of the road” takeover for Catalent, Houlton said. Larger deals will be considered by Catalent along with smaller tuck-in acquisitions as it seeks to add capabilities its clients want.

Aptuit refocuses

Selling the clinical trial supply unit will see Aptuit “focus on its core scientific competencies from discovery to mid-phase development”, Timothy Tyson, CEO of Aptuit, told Outsourcing-Pharma.

The $410m made through sale could be used to bolster the remaining business. “[Investing money raised in the sale] is certainly a possibility, although there are no specific plans that can be shared at this time”, Tyson said.

Acquisitions are also a possibility. “From the time Aptuit was founded, the company has considered all possible avenues of revenue growth. We don’t see that changing in the future”, Tyson said.

Tyson declined to say what percentage of total sales at Aptuit are generated by the clinical trial supply unit as “the transaction is still subject to regulatory approval”. Catalent and Aptuit expect the deal to close by the end of the calendar year.

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