(Reuters) SynteractHCR Inc, a privately held U.S. contract research organization (CRO), is exploring a sale that could value it at close to $1.5 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
SynteractHCR’s owner, private equity firm Gryphon Investors, is working with investment bank Wells Fargo & Co to run an auction for the company, the people said this week.
A deal would underscore how the CRO industry has benefited in recent years from pharmaceutical companies’ drive to cut costs, reduce clinical trial times and expand their research and development presence around the world.
SynteractHCR, based in Carlsbad, California, has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of aground $160 million, the people added, asking not to be identified because the sale process is confidential.
Gryphon Investors, based in San Francisco, and Wells Fargo declined to comment. SynteractHCR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SynteractHCR provides outsourced support to pharmaceutical companies, from drug development to marketing. It was created in its current form in 2008 when Gryphon Investors acquired majority ownership of the company and merged it with another company, Vince & Associates Clinical Research. It has since grown further through acquisitions.
The sale process comes as a string of other private equity-owned pharmaceutical services companies explore divesting themselves or initial public offerings. These include InVentiv Health Inc, eResearch Technology Inc and PCI Pharma Services.
(Reporting by Carl O’Donnell in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)