Durham-based drug developer bought for $252 million

Durham-based Avista Pharma Solutions has been bought for more than $250 million.
Durham-based Avista Pharma Solutions has been bought for more than $250 million. TNS

Avista Pharma Solutions, a contract pharmaceutical drug developer headquartered in Durham, has been bought by Cambrex Corp., a publicly traded drug maker based in New Jersey.

Avista — which moved its headquarters from Longmont, Colo. to Durham in recent years — was acquired for around $252 million.

Avista moved to Durham after it bought the contract research division of another drug developer named Scynexis, The News & Observer previously reported.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, the company said in a release.

Avista operates four labs in Durham, Colorado, Massachusetts and Scotland and has around 400 customers, which use Avista for analytical testing and drug development. Avista’s revenue for 2018 is expected to be $65 million, Cambrex Chief Financial Officer Greg Sargen said on a call with investors Tuesday.

Avista was owned by Ampersand Capital Partners, a Boston-based private-equity firm. Efforts to reach Cambrex were not immediately successful.

Contract research companies have long been a significant part of the Research Triangle’s economy. Durham is home to several large contract research companies, such as IQVIA and Rho.

Avista, which has been hiring more people in the Triangle, has around 100 employees in Durham, the Triangle Business Journal previously reported. The company said it has 330 employees worldwide in its release.

“We currently plan to continue business as usual at all Avista sites, hopefully with lots of continued growth,” Sargen said in an email.