PPD Acquires Drug Discovery Startup X-Chem

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Contract research organization PPD has acquired biotechnology startup X-Chem, buying the remaining shares of the company that it did not already own a little more than a month before its option to acquire that stake expired.

Waltham, MA-based X-Chem has a drug discovery platform that includes a proprietary library of compounds, as well as drug screening approaches used to identify potential drug candidates. The company says its proprietary DNA-encoded small molecule library has more than 100 billion distinct compounds. PPD did not disclose any financial details for the X-Chem acquisition.

X-Chem makes money from milestone payments and royalties achieved as the compounds picked up by pharmaceutical partners make progress toward becoming commercialized drugs. X-Chem’s technology has attracted a long list of pharma partners including Roche, AstraZeneca, Bayer, and Pfizer.

PPD, based in Wilmington, NC, bought a controlling stake in privately-held X-Chem in 2010. Securities filings for PPD, which was a publicly traded company at the time of the initial investment, show that PPD paid $15.5 million to acquire 60 percent ownership of X-Chem in 2010. PPD had the option to acquire the remaining 40 percent at a company valuation of $70 million, as long as it exercised that option by Oct. 31, 2014, filings show.

X-Chem was formed in 2010 by CEO and founder Richard Wagner. PPD says X-Chem will continue operating as a biotechnology company, retaining its entire staff, including the management team.



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One response to “PPD Acquires Drug Discovery Startup X-Chem”

  1. John Ausec says:

    The Carlyle Group has been declining throughout the year. This gamble on going though with X-chem purchase was necessitated by the negative ROI from the PPD purchase.