Cinven has agreed to acquire BioClinica, a clinical-trial services provider, from Water Street Healthcare Partners, a strategic healthcare investor, and JLL Partners, a middle-market private equity firm. Expected to close by the end of this year, the deal comes with a $1.4 billion enterprise value, representing a 14x EBITDA multiple, per The Wall Street Journal.
JLL and Water Street merged BioClinica with CCBR-SYNARC in 2014 to create the foundation of the company as it looks today. The resulting platform has since completed several strategic acquisitions to consolidate its position across each phase of clinical development—and, clearly, become a desirable target of its own. BioClinica’s clients include all of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies and top 10 contract research organizations in the world.
Cinven’s play for BioClinica represents just the latest acquisition in clinical research, a space that has seen a significant increase in PE activity recently. According to Reuters, CROs have capitalized on the demand by biopharma companies to reduce costs, cut trial times and expand global operations. BioClinica joins Cinven’s largely European portfolio of healthcare-related investments, though, the $1.4 billion sticker price for the pickup isn’t the firm’s stiffest. That honor goes to the UK’s Spire Healthcare, a private hospital group that Cinven bought as part of a deal worth £1.44 billion in 2007 and helped take public in 2014.
Cinven has started to capitalize on some other of those investments, as well. Earlier this month, for example, the firm's portfolio company Medpace (NASDAQ: MEDP) raised over $160 million in its IPO, pricing shares at $23 apiece to open trading. The company’s stock is now priced around $29 per share.