Permira puts LSNE on the block

An RBC-run sale process kicks off for the CDMO, which specializes in the lyophilization of drugs and devices.

Permira is evaluating the sale of LSNE, an expert in freeze-drying processes that help keep drugs and medical devices sterile, according to four sources familiar with the firm’s plans. 

The global private equity firm has mandated RBC Capital Markets to provide sell-side financial advice on a process, two of the people said. A process recently kicked off and marketing materials have been distributed, they said.

LSNE, based in Bedford, New Hampshire, is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in sterile lyophilization, or freeze-drying, and the fill-and-finish of drugs and medical devices. It serves a range of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device customers, encompassing six GMP facilities – four in New Hampshire, one in Wisconsin and one in Leon, Spain.

The company is marketing $38 million of projected 2021 EBITDA, one of the sources said. LSNE is growing at 9 percent to 10 percent per annum, Permira states on its website. 

Permira’s investment in LSNE dates to March 2017. As part of the acquisition, LSNE Founder and CEO Matt Halvorsen maintained a significant equity stake in the company, and is continuing to lead it. 

Also concurrent with the deal, Claes Glassell, the former CEO of CMC Biologics and a 30-year pharmaceutical industry veteran, joined as chairman of the board of LSNE.

Other companies of a similar vein include Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, which also received PE backing in 2017 from Arlington Capital Partners, a Chevy Case, Maryland-based mid-market firm. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-headquarterd injectable CDMO has played a role in the fight against the global pandemic, with its aseptic fill-and-finish services supporting the supply of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

Permira, for its part, is well-versed in pharma manufacturing. Other US-based investments include Cambrex, a pharma CDMO it bought in August 2019 in a transaction valued at approximately $2.4 billion including debt. Cambrex provides drug substance, drug product and early stage testing & development services across the entire drug lifecycle from preclinical to commercial stages, with a focus on branded drugs.

Permira also owns Quotient Sciences, a UK-based company whose specialist drug development services offer early stage support to commercial manufacturing.

Permira declined to comment, while LSNE and RBC did not return PE Hub’s requests for comment.