Investment, Private Equity

TPG Capital Asia Buys Majority Stake In Taiwan-Based Clinical Trials Firm OPC

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TPG Capital Asia has acquired a majority stake in Taiwan-based clinical trial services provider OPC Holding Company. As part of the transaction, OPC’s founder Jason Chen will transition to the role of chairman. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

OPC offers clinical trial services for both small molecule generic and novel drugs, as well as biologics to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Founded in 1997, OPC has built a strong presence in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, TPG said in an announcement.

"Mr. Jason Chen and the management team have built OPC into one of the leading CROs in Taiwan," said Scott Chen, Partner, TPG. “On the back of new regulations that aim to raise drug quality to international standards, China’s pharmaceutical industry has entered a new phase of innovation-driven growth. This new regulatory context includes the requirement for a large portion of generic drugs to, within a tight timeframe, re-conduct bioequivalence trials creating demand that outstrips existing supply."

OPC’s 20-year bioequivalence trial experience positions the company to tap into this new demand. Bioequivalence is a study used to assess the expected in vivo biological equivalence of two proprietary preparations of a drug. Additionally, OPC’s institutional and industry experience across a range of drug trials will likely allow the company to benefit from the anticipated rapid growth period for innovative drug development in mainland China, said the announcement.

OPC offers early stage development services trials, including Phase I pharmacokinetics and bioequivalence trials, having performed more than 2,000 projects for Taiwanese, Japanese and mainland China customers since its inception. The company also has a pan-Asian based CRO unit that focuses on later-stage development services for novel drugs. It has a joint venture with Xuzhou Medical University to tap into China’s pent-up demand for bioequivalence studies.

TPG Capital Asia’s investment in OPC adds to its growing pan-Asian healthcare network, following its recent announcemed plan to invest in Sydney-based Novotech, Australia’s largest independent CRO.

TPG’s past and present healthcare investments include pharmaceutical services leaders such as IMS, Quintiles and EnvisionRX; blood transfusion therapy and diagnostics manufacturers Fenwal and Immucor; orthopedic device company Biomet; healthcare providers such as Surgical Care Affiliates, Healthscope, Parkway, United Family Healthcare and Manipal Hospitals; and pharmaceutical manufacturers Adare, Aptalis and Par Pharmaceutical.

UBS AG served as the financial advisor and Baker McKenzie served as the legal counsel to OPC. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and LCS & Partners in Taiwan served as the legal advisors to TPG in this transaction.

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