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Quintiles To Launch Partnering Group Under New Name, With Financial Backer

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Quintiles Transational

is expanding its strategic partnering effort while looking for business opportunities in biotech and drug development.

The contract research organization said Thursday it was beefing up its internal strategic partnering group, which will now be called NovaQuest. The group will be led by Ron Wooten, executive vice president of corporate development for Quintiles. He has directed Quintiles' partnering efforts since joining the company in 2000.

"Yes, this is a big part of our plans to grow the company," a Quintiles spokesperson told WRAL Local Tech Wire. "We see this as accelerating our growth in the future. This is a key part of our strategy to grow beyond our traditional product development and customer services."

Quintiles already has more than 50 partnerships in effect, the spokesperson added. Quintiles has a financial investment in all of them, either through provisioning of services, infusions of cash, or both.

The partnership group within Quintiles was known formerly as PharmaBio Development. Among its most recent investments was in RTP-based Adherex Technologies as part of a $6.5 million private placement.

"Customers can tap into our global development and commercialization infrastructure, deal-making expertise, and financial resources to create tailor-made solutions to their most significant strategic and financial challenges," said Quintiles Chairman Dennis Gillings in a statement.

NovaQuest will operate as a business unit within Quintiles.

Providing financial muscle for the partnering group will be TPG-Axon Capital, a global investment firm with nearly $6 billion in equity capital. TPG-Axon has already invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" in Quintiles-related partnerships, the spokesperson said.

The NovaQuest group will include agreement structuring, due diligence and alliance management services. Since 2000, Quintiles has invested more than $1.5 billion in partnership efforts, the company said.

Some 40 Quintiles personnel around the globe are focused on partnerships from performing due diligence to providing analysis. NovaQuest will also have the support of more than 500 sales personnel who support Quintiles' partnership with drug maker Eli Lilly. "We have between 620 and 630 people focused on this effort," the spokesperson explained.

When needed, TPG-Axon can provide financial support.

"This alliance further enhances TPG-Axon's ability to find, analyze and act on non-traditional investment opportunities in the life sciences," said Dinakar Singh, its founder. "I believe NovaQuest offers pharma and biotech companies 'smart money' - financial solutions backed by Quintiles' expertise and capabilities in global product development and commercialization. This is a powerful resource for pharma and biotech companies seeking new solutions to major challenges."

NovaQuest's three areas of emphasis include:

  • Co-development and co-promotion investments which would include Quintiles services and or cash investment from NovaQuest
  • Strategic resourcing to help partners pursue product development
  • Providing what the company called "virtual infrastructure" and the possibility of financial support to emerging biotechnology firms
  • NovaQuest includes scientific, medical and market intelligence experts as well as alliance managers, financial and legal personnel.

    "In less than seven years, we've seen partnering grow from a promising concept to a proven strategic option," Wooten said. "NovaQuest's launch reflects the maturity of Quintiles' partnering capabilities, our record of success and increasing demand from customers. Doing business as usual isn't enough anymore. Customers need alternative growth strategies designed around their specific challenges and goals. NovaQuest is here to provide those solutions."

    Privately held Quintiles, which reported more than $2 billion in revenues in 2005, employs more than 16,000 people in 50 countries.

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