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Clinical Insider

Blackstone wants to take Japanese SMO I’rom private

Posted by on 14 May 2024
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Blackstone announced plans to turn Japanese clinical trial site management organization (SMO) I’rom Group Co into a private company.

The New York-based asset management organisation announced the move this week, after securing the agreement of I’rom founder and CEO, Toyotaka Mori. The firm said it aims to commence the tender offer by around mid-June, subject to the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of the other non-specified conditions.

After completion, Blackstone will own 55% of I’rom and Mori will retain 45% ownership through his asset management company.

Atsuhiko Sakamoto, head of private equity at Blackstone Japan, said: “We are pleased to partner with […] Mori and the rest of the management team, and help advance the company in its next phase of growth.
“Life sciences is one of our highest conviction investment themes globally, including in Japan, where we have made two marquee investments and built these businesses into market leaders. We are committed to supporting I’rom’s mission of bringing critical medicines and technologies to the market and transforming patients’ lives.”

According to Mori, “Blackstone is a great partner to bring I’rom to the next stage, building up on I’rom’s more than a quarter-century of trust, innovation, and security.”

I’rom was founded 27 years ago as an SMO. The firm works with medical institutions to provide services related to clinical trials. It has since diversified its business to develop new products and services using advanced medical technology in regenerative medicine; support the work of pharmaceutical companies and academia involved in clinical research through its contract research organization (CRO) business; and operate medical clinic complexes.

Blackstone framed the move as part of a wider interest in life sciences in Asia Pacific (APAC), citing the 2019 acquisition of Korean pharmaceutical distributor Geo-Young, investment in the Indian Care hospitals chain and Japan’s Alinamin Pharmaceutical and Ayumi Pharmaceutical as other examples.


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