Dive Insight:

The Carlyle Group created Bidco to buy Vectura, which specializes in inhalers and works with major drugmakers from Novartis to GlaxoSmithKline. The company’s technology is used in 13 inhaled and 11 non-inhaled products, according to a statement on the deal.

Vectura also has a portfolio of treatments in development with partners, the companies said, although it’s been less successful in bringing its own drugs to market. Vectura shelved an asthma therapy in 2018 after it failed in a Phase 3 study.

The purchase is part of a wave of investment firms buying up contractors in the pharmaceutical business. With medicines becoming increasingly complex, biotechs and traditional pharma companies are relying more and more on specialists to develop and manufacture new therapies.

In 2017, Pamplona Capital Management bought the biopharma services provider Parexel International for about $5 billion. In 2019, PE firms announced plans to buy the contract development and manufacturing organization, or CDMO, Cambrex, biological therapy developer Vibalogics and a contract manufacturing unit of Mallincrkodt. In 2020, GHO Capital Partners bought Belgian CDMO Ardena from another PE firm.

The Carlyle Group said it valued the steps Vectura has taken to build its business around inhaled medicines. “We have followed the strategic changes underway at Vectura closely and fully support the focus on building a market leading inhalation specialist CDMO,” Simon Dingemans, a managing director in the firm’s European buyout advisory group, said in the company’s statement.

The acquisition of Vectura is through Carlyle’s Europe Partners V Fund, which raised 6.4 billion euros in 2019 to invest in European companies across industries.