- Ardena, a contract developer and manufacturer based in Belgium, is changing owners, with U.K. private equity firm GHO Capital Partners buying the company from Mentha Capital in a deal announced by the companies Jan. 9.
- Acquiring Ardena appears to be the first acquisition made by GHO since it closed its second fund in November, raising just over $1 billion to invest in European healthcare companies, specifically in outsourced services, pharma and medtech.
- Under Mentha's ownership, Ardena has expanded via a series of acquisitions that added bioanalyatical, drug discovery and drug substance capabilities to its contract services offerings.
Private equity has taken a shine to contract development and manufacturing organizations, seeing in the sector high growth opportunities as pharma and biotech companies outsource more and more preclinical and early-stage clinical functions.
In the U.S. last year, for example, Vibralogics, Cambrex and Mallinckrodt's BioVectra business were all sold to private equity companies.
There seems to be similar interest across the Atlantic, at least judging by GHO's acquisition.
Ardena, which debuted as a brand in 2017 following Pharmavize's takover of Crystallics, claims a client list of over 300 customers in Europe, the U.S., Japan and Korea. As of late 2018, the CDMO employed more than 250 staff across six sites in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Latvia.
"Ardena has grown from a Ghent-based business to become a leading early-stage, multi-service CDMO in Western Europe," said Mentha Capital partner Gijs Botman, in a statement. "After successfully completing and integrating four acquisitions, the company is now ready for a new growth phase."
In addition to Crystallics, Ardena bought ABL in 2017, as well as Chemoconnection and Syntagon in 2018.