Catalent Flexes M&A Muscle, Acquires Juniper Pharmaceuticals

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Shares of Juniper Pharmaceuticals have soared more than 31 percent in premarket trading after the company announced it will be acquired by drug delivery company Catalent, Inc. in a deal with a total equity value of approximately $139.6 million.

Catalent said the acquisition of Juniper, which has 150 employees, will expand and strengthen the company’s offerings in formulation development, bioavailability solutions and clinical-scale oral dose manufacturing. Additionally, Catalent said the deal will complement its clinical and commercial supply network.

Under terms of the deal, Catalent will acquire outstanding shares of Juniper at $11.50, which Juniper said represents a premium of 59.7 percent to Juniper’s unaffected share price on Jan. 30, 2018. That was the last trading day prior to the date that Juniper announced its intention to explore strategic alternatives, which included being acquired.

Jonathan Arnold, head of Catalent Oral Drug Delivery, said the acquisition of Juniper and its “proven solutions and capabilities,” will support Catalent’s strategic goal to be “the most comprehensive partner for pharmaceutical innovators.” Arnold pointed to Juniper’s expertise in early-phase product development and supply as a key to that goal. He said the acquisition will help Catalent’s customers “unlock the full potential” of their research, which will lead to the development of better treatments for patients.

Alicia Secor, Juniper’s President and chief executive officer, said the deal to be acquired by Catalent “is the culmination of a diligent and extensive process to pursue strategic alternatives in order to maximize shareholder value.”

In its announcement this morning, Catalent said bringing Juniper under its umbrella will augment the company’s portfolio of solid-state screening, preformulation, formulation, analytical, and bioavailability enhancement solutions. That includes the development of spray-dried dispersions, with integrated development, analytical, and clinical manufacturing located in Juniper’s Pharma Services business in Nottingham, U.K. facility.

Catalent said it will continue to support Juniper’s Crinone (progesterone gel) franchise, which is marketed by Merck KGaA outside of the United States. Catalent noted that it will not be involved in the development of Juniper’s Intravaginal Ring, which was previously licensed to Daré Bioscience.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of Catalent’s 2019 fiscal year, which began on July 1.

Catalent has been beefing up its offerings over the past few years. Earlier this year the company announced it planned to invest its Somerset, New Jersey facility to create a “center of excellence” on the east coast. That investment complemented a 2016 deal that included the acquisition of Pharmatek Laboratories, Inc., and subsequent investments in its San Diego facility to create a center of excellence for early drug development on the U.S. West Coast. Last year the company struck a deal to acquire privately-held Cook Pharmica LLC, a contract manufacturing organization, for $950 million. In 2016, Catalent purchased

Catalent employs approximately 11,000 people. 

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