Sunday, June 10, 2012


Exclusive: Pharma Chief Eyes Huge Windfall

Mark Kleinman June 09, 2012 7:54 PM

Britain's fastest-growing private company is exploring a sale or flotation that could catapult its founder into the ranks of the country's super-rich.

I've learned that Clinigen Group, which makes drugs for use in clinical trials, has appointed Numis, the investment bank, to gauge investors' appetite for a deal valuing it at hundreds of millions of pounds.

A sale or float would crystallise huge windfalls for Andy Leaver, Clinigen's executive chairman, and Peter George, chief executive. Leaver is understood to own about 70 per cent of the company, so a sale valuing the company at £200m would hand him a £140m fortune.

Numis has been gauging City investors' appetite to buy into Staffordshire-based Clinigen in recent weeks, I'm told. The company is conducting what is known as a dual-track process to explore a sale or stock market listing after receiving expressions of interest from private equity firms.

Since being founded in 2007, Clinigen Group has notched up annual sales growth of 242 per cent and late last year was named the fastest-growing private company in Britain by The Sunday Times' Fast Track survey.

Through its healthcare arm, Clinigen acquires and in-licenses from the top 50 pharmaceutical companies mature or end-of-lifecycle drugs which would otherwise be discontinued or withdrawn.

In 2010, Clinigen acquired from AstraZeneca, the FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals group, exclusive rights to sell the antiviral drug Foscavir, which is used to treat HIV and AIDS-related infections, around the world. Last month it received clearance for the drug from the US Food and Drug Administration.

In a statement emailed to me, George said: “We have always planned for an exit in June 2014. That hasn’t changed but in the meantime we’re keeping all our options open.”

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