PE-Backed Nycomed Buys China’s Techpool

Swiss drug maker Nycomed has acquired a majority stake in the Chinese pharmaceutical company Guangdong Techpool Bio-Pharma, Reuters reported. Nycomed paid roughly $210 million for a 51.34% stake in the Guangdong-based company. Zurich-based Nycomed is owned by four private equity firms: Nordic Capital, Credit Suisse’s DLJ Merchant Banking, Coller International Partners and New York-based Avista Capital Partners.

(Reuters) – Swiss drug firm Nycomed said on Monday it had bought a majority stake in a Chinese pharmaceutical company, underscoring Western manufacturers’ hunger to boost their presence in the country.

Nycomed — which is privately owned but is considering a public offering — paid around $210 million for the 51.34 percent stake in Guangdong Techpool Bio-Pharma, a spokesman said.

Techpool, founded in 1993, specialises in developing biologic drugs derived from natural sources and the deal gives Nycomed access to a supplier of protein-based biotech drugs with international potential.

The Guangdong-based company’s products are sold across China and exported to a number of countries, including Japan and South Korea. Its protein drugs including treatments for sepsis and stroke.

Privately owned Nycomed, which has a strong focus on emerging markets, has said in the past it wants to launch an initial public offering (IPO) but has never given an exact timetable for listing its shares.

An IPO would allow the company’s main existing shareholders — a group of private equity funds — to sell down their stakes, while money would come in from new investors.

Nycomed, which had sales of 3.2 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in 2009, is majority-owned by four private equity firms, led by Nordic Capital with 42.7 percent. The others are Credit Suisse’s DLJ Merchant Banking, Coller International Partners and Avista. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Erica Billingham)