Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised Northumberland-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Arcinova on the sale of the business to Quotient Sciences (Quotient), which is backed by Permira, one of the largest global investment firms.

With over 40 years of experience and 160 employees, Arcinova provides drug substance, drug product, and bioanalysis services to over 200 pharma and biotech customers worldwide.

The acquisition expands Quotient’s service portfolio and will enable the integration of drug substance, drug product and clinical testing capabilities all under one organization — extending the 12-month drug development timeline savings already delivered by Quotient’s flagship platform Translational Pharmaceutics®.

By cutting through silos and integrating a range of capabilities, outsourced development programs can be further simplified and accelerated, consistent with Quotient’s belief that molecules need to become cures, fast.

WBD’s Newcastle team led on the transaction, headed by partner Ben Butler and associate David Ridley, with support from partners Simon Watts and Jeremy Smith and solicitor Jessica Christy.

The firm acted for Arcinova’s founders and majority shareholders, providing key corporate and private equity expertise.

Arcinova has been a longstanding client of WBD, with the firm advising on the original acquisition of the business and assets from Covance in 2016 and its subsequent investment from Business Growth Fund (BGF) in 2017.

WBD’s Newcastle corporate team has also acted for Arcinova’s founders and serial entrepreneurs, Ian Shott and Paul Ryan, in relation to their other successful business ventures, including most recently advising on:

the sale of Kiln Flame Systems Limited, world-leaders in rotary kiln process and combustion optimisation, on its acquisition by Metso, one of Europe’s largest industrial companies; and

the sale of BPE Design and Support Limited, leaders in integrated engineering services.

Ben Butler of WBD said: “We are delighted to have advised the team at Arcinova on this exciting new chapter for the business.

“We have always really enjoyed working with Ian and Paul and the fantastic businesses they have created.

“It has been a privilege to support them on their multiple corporate journeys.”

“There is an incredible amount of deal activity going on currently, with a huge appetite from Private Equity Funders, in particular, for growing, resilient businesses.

“It is pleasing to see so much of this investment flowing into organisations based in the North East, which is testament to the incredible companies we have in the region.”

Ian Shott at Arcinova commented: “We are very grateful to the WBD team for their on-point commercial advice and ongoing commitment to the success of our businesses.

“Ben, Simon and David have proved to be trusted advisers for a number of years and we’re incredibly thankful to have such a talented and dedicated team of lawyers based on our doorstep.”

The sale of Arcinova is the latest in a series of North East private equity deals completed by WBD during the COVID-19 pandemic, including advising the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group on its significant minority investment in Connect Health, on Nigel Wright’s MBO and Mercia Asset Management’s investments in IBEX Innovations, Equiwatt and Noveltea.

WBD’s Newcastle corporate team was highly ranked in the latest edition of the legal directories, retaining its tier 1 status in both the Chambers UK and Legal 500, in the latter seven Newcastle corporate lawyers were ranked on an individual basis, more than any other firm in the region.

As the largest law firm in the North East, WBD has deep roots in the region and its largest UK office of around 450 professionals is based in Newcastle.

The firm is committed to playing its part in the future prosperity of the North East and Cumbria by using its local, national and international reach and expertise to benefit the region’s leading sectors, businesses, people and organisations.