Specialty CROs Are the Latest Trend in Services Targets

Contract research organizations (CROs) were huge targets in 2017, with four of the sector’s 10 biggest deals bringing in $22.9 billion, combined. The CRO market has cooled in 2018, but interesting new trends pop up now and then. The latest is the trend toward specialty CROs, which focus on specific areas such as diseases of the central nervous system.

In one week in July, two such CROs have traded hands. The first, on July 9, was Oculos Clinical Research, a CRO based in Tampa, Florida that focuses on ophthalmology. Private equity firm Point Guard Partners was exiting, and Iuvo Bioscience, a portfolio company of Tartan Holdings, was investing.

Iuvo Bioscience, based in Rush, New York, provides pre-clinical R&D services, including safety, microbiology, toxicology and analytical testing for the medical device and pharmacuetical industries.

The transaction combines Iuvo’s extensive pre-clinical testing and CMC expertise, which was already strong in the ophthalmic space, with the clinical trial management capabilities of Oculos.

Two days later, Cu-Tech, LLC, a leading dermatology CRO based in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, was sold to SynteractHCR, a portfolio company of Amulet Capital Partners. Cu-Tech has managed more than 130 dermatology trials, and has developed an expertise in working across a variety of dermatological indications.

Based in Carlsbad, California, SynteractHCR is a leading full-service contract research organization providing Phase 1 through 4 clinical trials. The company has created a dedicated center of dermatology development, and now claims that the combined company will be the leading mid-sized global CRO for dermatology clinical trials.





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