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Coronavirus disruption scuppers Curium Pharma sale

London-based private equity firm CapVest will wait for market to improve

Curium Pharma

The impact of coronavirus on the economy took another turn this week after CapVest shelved its sale of nuclear medicine specialist Curium Pharma, blaming the outbreak.

The London-based private equity firm is reported to have postponed the proposed sale, which had valued the business at around €3bn, while it waits for market conditions to improve.

Three potential buyers for Curium – said to include investment groups Nordic Capital, Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners – are said to have lowered their bids for France-based Curium amid turmoil caused by COVID-19, according to a Bloomberg report.

“The board of Curium does not believe a sale of the business at this time would be in the best interest of the business, its people, customers or shareholders,” said the company in a statement.

Paris-headquartered Curium was formed three years ago via the merger of CapVest’s IBA Molecular with the nuclear medicines business of Ireland-listed drugmaker Mallinckrodt. CapVest reportedly started a bidding process for the company last November.

It makes diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals and operates PET and SPECT facilities in Europe and the US, generating annual revenues of around €350m.

Last week, the FDA granted a priority review to Curium and US partner RadioMedix for copper Cu 64 dotatate injection, a PET diagnostic intended for somatostatin receptor expressing neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).

The Curium decision comes as other pharma companies waiting for approval for mergers and acquisitions – including AbbVie’s $63bn takeover of Allergan and Google’s $2.1bn deal to buy Fitbit – could be affected by delays at the Federal Trade Commission, says Bloomberg.

AbbVie and Allergan signed a consent decree with the FTC this week covering the previously-announced divestments of inflammatory bowel disease drug brazikumab and two pancreatic replacement enzyme products, clearing a final obstacle holding up approval in the US and setting up a possible closing in May.

However the FTC has said it may seek extensions to reviews, adding that it is fully operational but staff are working remotely. It stressed it won’t curtail the rigour of its investigations because of the coronavirus epidemic.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s antitrust division has introduced temporary changes to its civil merger investigation processes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak which mean it will seek an additional 30 days to complete reviews.

Article by
Phil Taylor

19th March 2020

From: Sales

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