Investor snaps up drug delivery specialist Acino in bid to build regional pharma hub

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ADQ, which invests across a range of industries, is buying up drugmakers to create an “integrated pharma platform.” (rawpixel)

Acino is changing hands again. Eight years after being taken private in a $439 million deal, the Swiss drug delivery specialist has been snapped up by an Abu Dhabi-based holding company that is making moves in pharma.

Zurich-based Acino develops and manufactures established molecules in novel drug delivery forms. With patents on modified release oral forms and oral dispersible forms, Acino has built a portfolio of tens of treatments of infections, pain, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Acino also offers contract manufacturing services and out-licenses assets.

Private equity groups Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital have supported the growth of Acino since taking the business private in 2013. Acino has struck a series of deals since being bought by the private equity groups, including the takeover of parts of Takeda’s primary care portfolio.

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Responsibility for supporting further growth will fall on ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based holding company with direct and indirect investments in more than 90 companies. ADQ, which invests across a range of industries, is buying up drugmakers to create an “integrated pharma platform.”

“Building on a series of strategic acquisitions throughout this year, we are creating a strong platform to fortify the UAE’s position as a regional hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing, commercialisation and distribution in select growth-leading markets. Our aim for ADQ’s healthcare and pharma cluster is to ensure access to affordable, essential medicines and advance new, innovative treatments that help improve people’s lives,” ADQ’s Fahad Al Qassim said in a statement.

This year, ADQ has acquired Egypt’s Amoun Pharmaceutical and United Arab Emirates-based Pharmax Pharmaceuticals. Acino already has a deal with Pharmax to supply certain products in the Middle East and Africa.