Avista to invest in safety testing company

The $210m investment in BioReliance Corporation follows two other Avista investments in the healthcare industry in 2006.

Global private equity firm Avista Capital Partners has agreed to buy biological safety testing company BioReliance Corporation from its parent company, Invitrogen Corporation, for about $210 million (€160 million).

The deal is expected to close by the second quarter of this year.

Charles Harwood will become the chairman of BioReliance’s board of director. He comes to the company after serving as the president and chief executive officer at Focus Diagnostics, which develops services for rare and emerging infectious and immunologic diseases. Tim Derrington, currently BioReliance’s general manager, will become the company’s president and chief executive officer.

BioReliance was founded in 1947 and is based in Rockville, Maryland. It provides biologics safety testing, pre-clinical testing services to about 600 clients in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. The company plans to introduce a web-based system called iNet to expedite electronic orders and results reporting, Derrington said in a statement. 

This investment follows two that Avista made in the healthcare industry in 2006. The firm committed to invest up to $50 million in Houston, Texas-based MedServe, a medical waste removal and destruction service provider, in October. It also committed to invest up to €125 million in Nycomed, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company, that same month.

Founded in 2005 as a spinout of DLJ Merchant Banking, the private equity arm of Credit Suisse First Boston, Avista specialises in investments in the media, healthcare and energy sectors. Thompson Dean, the former head of DLJ, took 15 of his former colleagues with him to found the new firm. While still a part of DLJ, the team made a many investments in the healthcare sector, including research and laboratory animal support service provider Charles River Laboratories, organic synthesis research and development company Accellant, women’s healthcare and pharmaceutical products maker Warner Chilcott and disease service provider Focus Diagnostics.