People don't always take their drugs as prescribed.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Dan Primack
June 1, 2016

Private equity firm Partners Group on Wednesday will announce an agreement to acquire PCI Pharma Services, a Philadelphia-based provider of outsourced services to the global pharmaceutical market, from Frazier Healthcare Partners. No financial terms are being disclosed, but Fortune has learned that the deal values PCI at just over $1 billion (including debt), and that Frazier will roll over some of its proceeds so that it can retain a minority equity position.

PCI was originally formed in 2012, via Frazier’s purchase of the U.S. commercial pharma packaging operations of Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc. from a group of investors led by The Blackstone Group (BX). One year later it would acquire the AndersonBrecon, the consumer packaging business of AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC) and, one year after that, would add on Penn Pharmaceutical Services, a British provider of provider of drug development and manufacturing services.

Reuters had reported back in March that Frazier was looking to sell for around $1 billion, with RBC managing the process.

“We had a lot of inbound interest and there were some things we wanted to do in terms of additional M&A, and this deal with Partners gives us a stronger capital base,” says Nathan Every, a Frazier Healthcare partner and PCI board member. “We’d like to get bigger in clinical packaging and more global in commercial packaging, and on the manufacturing side we’d really like to do more in areas like high potency, where Penn is already a leader.”

If more M&A is what PCI and its new majority owner are looking for, it shouldn’t be hard to find targets. A number of companies ― including InVentiv Health, Envision Pharma, eResearch Technology and Pharma Product Development LLC ― are known to be in market, as pharma companies continue to outsource more and more of their packaging and manufacturing processes (kind of like where the contract research organization business was a decade ago).

“Big pharma companies are under a lot of pressure to control costs, which means they’re looking to optimize their supply chains,” says Joel Schwartz, a managing director and head of Americas private equity at Partners Group. “Outsourcing is becoming an increasing part of that optimization, which is why private equity has so much interest right now.”

Partners Group is a limited partner in several Frazier Healthcare funds, including the one that houses PCI. “It’s how we first got to know about the company,” Schwartz says.

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