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The Clinical Trials Industry’s Weekly News Update

PE firm buys niche ophthalmology CRO Lexitas

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NovaQuest Private Equity has acquired eye focused CRO Lexitas Pharma Services, citing demand form the biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors.

The deal – financial terms of which were not made public – was carried out by NovaQuest’s management company, QHP Capital.

QHP partner Vern Davenport said the acquisition fitted with his organizations strategy of backing specialist service providers and hinted at further investment in the firm.

“Lexitas is an excellent fit with QHP’s philosophy and strategy of providing strategic capital to growing clinical trial services providers in niche, specialized therapeutic areas. We look forward to supporting the Lexitas team as they continue to build out their capabilities and provide best-in-class ophthalmic drug development services.”

Lexitas has operated since 2011, providing both clinical trial and medical strategy services to developers working on ophthalmic products.

The firm has conducted clinical trials for a range of conditions – everything from dry eye disease, glaucoma and cataract through uveitis, pediatric myopia, diabetic macular oedema, and age-related macular degeneration.

NovaQuest cited this therapeutic expertise, combined with Lexitas’s relationships with ophthalmic key opinion leaders and network of high-performing research sites as another motivation for the investment.

Lexitas CEO George Magrath said “Partnering with the QHP team brings deep expertise and domain knowledge that is going to allow Lexitas to improve and increase the scope, quality, and efficiency of our capabilities.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with QHP and are excited at the prospect of getting safe and efficacious ophthalmic drugs to patients efficiently and quickly.”

Portfolio

Lexitas joins other contractors in Novaquest’s portfolio, including Catalyst Clinical Research, which acquired UK-based Aptus Clinical in May, citing a desire to expand in Europe as the motivation.

In 2021, NovaQuest made an equity investment in Pro-ficiency, a provider of tech-enabled training and compliance solutions for clinical trial investigators and site staff.

Executive changes

The Novaquest investment prompted some changes at Lexitas. The contractor appointed Jeanne Hecht, the former CEO of fellow ophthalmology-focused Ora, as executive chairwoman.

It cited Hecht track record as noteworthy, explaining that during her tenure she expanded Ora’s international presence, introduced new lines of business, and furthered its goals along numerous strategic paths.

Image: Stock Photo Secrets

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