The Cinven private equity firm is buying Bioclinica Inc. from Water Street Healthcare Partners-- a strategic health care industry investor-- and the JLL Partners PE firm. Bioclinica provides outsourced clinical trials services.

JLL Partners and Water Street built Bioclinica, based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, through eight acquisitions, including CCBR-Synarc in 2014. In two years, Bioclinica’s revenues increased more than 60 percent and its staff more than doubled. The company’s customers include the 50 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and the 10 largest contract research organizations.

Bioclinica’s business benefits from growing clinical trial activity, increased outsourcing and the adoption of clinical software services, according to London-based Cinven. The PE firm identified Bioclinica as an attractive target from its investment experience with Medpace, a contract research organization that Cinven took public through a recent initial public offering. Cinven typically invests in European companies with investments of $113 million or more, focusing on business services; consumer; financial services; healthcare; industrials; and technology, media and telecommunications companies.

Anthony Santospirito, Cinven principal, says his firm plans to grow Bioclinica’s business organically and through an accelerated pace of M&A. Also, Cinven will support Bioclinica’s expansion into Asia, through the PE firm’s portfolio team in Hong Kong. Bioclinica has business segments focused on medical imaging and cardiac safety services, an eClinical Solutions software platform, financial management of clinical trials, safety and regulatory services, strategic consulting services, a healthcare research applications exchange and cloud services.

JLL Partners, based in New York, is a middle-market PE firm with $5 billion in capital committed since it was founded in 1988. It makes control investments in complex situations, focusing on healthcare, financial services, building products, business services, aerospace and defense companies. Water Street, based in Chicago, focuses on medical and diagnostic products, specialty distribution, outsourced healthcare services and specialty pharmaceutical products and services, with nearly $2 billion to invest. Recently Water Street sold HealthPlan Services to Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT), an information technology and consulting company.

Medical research—particularly cancer research—has created middle-market M&A opportunities recently. Some examples: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) agreeing to buy Medivation Inc. (Nasdaq: MDVN), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) acquiring Cormorant Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) agreeing to buy Nimbus Apollo Inc. from Nimbus Therapeutics.

The Bioclinica deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, and financial terms were not disclosed. Jefferies LLC was the financial adviser to Bioclinica on the transaction; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is advising JLL Partners.

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