Pharma services shows its covid-resistancy: GHO, Blackstone, Kohlberg ride the tailwinds and Webster Equity Partners is officially in the market with Fund V.

GHO Capital agrees to buy Ardian’s stake in UK's Envision Pharma Group.

Hi everyone!

I’m back in Brooklyn after a few months’ breather from the city. We’re all tired of talking about where the time has gone, or hasn’t, or the changing of quarantine seasons. So let’s just talk about healthcare.

Pharma services
On the heels of Kohlberg & Co’s $3-billion-plus bet for Partners Group’s PCI Pharma, activity involving providers of outsourced services to pharma, biopharma and medical device companies remains robust.

GHO Capital has agreed to buy Ardian’s stake in the U.K.’s Envision Pharma Group, a tech-enabled medical affairs company the pair of firms jointly purchased about four years ago, I learned. For financials and more behind the deal, check out my story.

The targeted process for PCI and the lack of process for Envision underscore the current environment – one in which certainty prevails in a time where deals continue to come together on a largely virtual basis, I’m told. There’s also less of a strategic bid in the covid era, at least in on the pharma services front, one source said. The thought of integrating a company virtually is that much more challenging when it comes time to think about signing a deal.

That might create a nice market for PE, although processes are more focused, and as illustrated in recent activity, prices are just as high.

In other relevant dealmaking, I wrote that NAMSA, which offers medical device services, locked down a buyer in ArchiMed. Check out my story for deal specifics.

ArchiMed’s bet is reflective of the continued appetite for outsourced providers of pharma and med device services coming out of the European buyer universe. PE firms like Nordic Capital, Astorg, EQT, Cinven, GHO, Ardian and Vitruvian have all been major participants to date.

On another note… while we may be seeing fewer PIPE deals transpire in healthcare than were talked about at the beginning of the crisis, one recent transaction already seems to be paying off.

Shares of Cryoport have been on a run since Blackstone Tactical Opportunities last week revealed a $275 million investment in the business to fund its second acquisition over the span of a few days.

Read my story to find out why investors see a big opportunity ahead for Cryoport, which specializes in cold chain logistics for the rapidly-growing cell and gene therapy space.

One banker I caught up with anticipates the pharma services industry will only expand in the public markets, including via the SPAC route: “In order for a company to do a SPAC deal, they have to be public company ready, and pharma services is a great sector in the public markets … Frankly, there’s scarcity value.”

What else is brewing in the space? Reach me at springle@buyoutsinsider.com.

Top Scoops
Tech for clinical trials: CluePoints, a provider of Risk-Based Study Execution (RBx) and Data Quality Oversight software for clinical trials, announced a minority investment from Summit Partners this week. Read our brief.

In fund news, Webster Equity Partners is officially in the market with Fund V, its first healthcare-exclusive vehicle, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The firm’s fifth vehicle is targeting $1 billion, I wrote on Buyouts. Read more.

That’s all for today. Have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend! As always, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with any feedback, tips or just to say hello.