Private equity firm Henko Partners has invested in French trial services firms Popsicube and Missiontec and unveiled plans to build a “pan-European” CRO.
The investment – financial terms of which were not disclosed – will see the two contractors “join forces” with Barcelona, Spain-based biometrics clinical research organization (CRO) Bioclever – which Henko acquired last July.
In a press statement Henko said it will support the international expansion of the companies and create a European CRO that offers clients access to cross-country services, in addition to continuing to serve national markets.
The firm added that the combined organization will manage all aspects of clinical trials, from early to late phase studies and including decentralized clinical trials.
In particular, Henko cited Missiontec’s “strategies for decentralized clinical trials” as a motivation for the deal.
It added that the founders and current management team of Popsicube will continue to lead the company. Henko will provide operating support alongside capital to accelerate the business plan.
Popsicube CEO Fabrice Beauchêne welcomed the deal, commenting that “Henko’s expertise and resources will enable us to enhance our service offering.”
This was echoed by Lars Becker, partner at Henko, who said “Popsicube and Missiontec have established strong reputations as leaders in their respective fields.
“We are thrilled to help them grow their business by providing support and resources.”
The deal is in keeping with the strategy Henko outlined last year when bought Bioclever and said it planned to buy similar CROs.
Henko reiterated this plan, explaining that with the three CROs in its portfolio it plans to go on investing in other clinical trials contractors across Europe.
The PE firm’s plan is in keeping with the wider wave of consolidation deals seen in the CRO space in the past few years.
Analysts suggests the pandemic prompted a number of mergers and research site acquisitions by CROs looking to secure their operations and expand market share.