Selvita Expands Drug Discovery Services with Acquisition of Fidelta

Acquisition Target

Preclinical contract research organization (CRO) Selvita has entered into a deal with Galapagos to acquire its inflammation-, fibrosis- and anti-infectives-focused CRO Fidelta.

Under terms of the agreement, Selvita will be set to acquire 100% of Fidelta’s outstanding shares, culminating to an enterprise value of €31.2 million, or over $37 million in U.S. dollars, to be paid in cash. Fidelta, located in R&D facilities in Croatia, currently has 181 employees, including more than 150 scientists.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in January 2021, will expand Selvita’s integrated drug discovery services and will check off one of the company’s 2020 to 2023 goals it announced in April. Poland-based Fidelta, which employs more than 550 professionals and has customers in 40 countries, also said “intends to execute investments worth up to EUR 75-90 million” between 2020 and 2023, assuming it achieves revenues exceeding €70 million with at least a €230 million market cap at the end of 2023.

Selvita expects the acquisition will help the company “build a competitive advantage” in key business areas, including DMPK, in vivo pharmacology as well as toxicology. In a statement made by Selvita’s Chief Executive Officer, Boguslaw Sieczkowski, the acquisition of Fidelta is “a perfect fit” for the CRO, given that the acquired company boasts “an extensively experienced organization, with a full range of in-house drug discovery capabilities and an established track record of clinical candidate delivery.”

“With this acquisition, we are not only executing our strategy announced this year, but we’re actually taking a leap in both the scope of our services portfolio and the scale of business. It is a transformative moment in the history of Selvita,” Sieczkowski said.

“The scientific knowledge, the business acumen, and the focus and commitment of the team at Fidelta are second to none,” said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. “We will continue part of our discovery work with Fidelta, so we will benefit from that.”

Fidelta’s Managing Director, Adrijana Vinter, suggests the acquisition will strengthen Fidelta’s presence on the market.

“Bringing together these two companies will allow us to keep a high level of quality and offer an even more integrated approach  in services that we provide to our clients,” she said.

In addition to its 2020 to 2023 goals, Selvita is currently on a growth trajectory in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). In April, Selvita signed a grant agreement with the National Centre for Research and Development to assist in the development of a cell-based phenotypic platform. The platform is based on high-content imaging system that is integrated with AI data analysis for several different therapeutic areas, including neuroinflammatory and fibrosis drug discovery. The grant provides nearly €1.05 million of  non-dilutive financing to both Selvita and Ardigen for the development of the AI-based high-content screening platform, with total net values amounting to €1.85 million for the three-year project.

Selvita has experienced a 41% increase in revenues since just last year, a remarkable increase considering the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to overall revenue decline for the CRO industry. In June, the company also raised over €20 million from investors as part of a Follow-On public offering of shares. "The success of this share issue demonstrates investors' confidence in both Selvita and the development strategy we have announced, as well as their trust in the large potential of the Company's business,” stated Sieczkowski. “Rest assured, that we will make every effort to execute the assumptions of our strategy and continue Selvita's dynamic growth on the global preclinical CRO market."

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