Carlyle buys stake in pharma firm Ambio

The private equity firm plans to help the pharmaceutical firm expand in China.

The Carlyle Group said on Monday it has acquired a significant minority stake in North Augusta, South Carolina-headquartered Ambio Holdings from specialist healthcare fund MVM Partners.

Founded in 2007 by Chris Bai, Ambio develops and manufactures peptide active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Both target and buyer hope the deal will be a first step towards expansion in China, where a burgeoning middle class and disquiet over a dysfunctional medical system are creating a host of opportunities for investors

“Carlyle Asia team’s strong local connections will help expedite our growth strategies in China,” Bai said.

Equity for the investment came from Carlyle Asia Partners V, Carlyle’s $6.55 billion Asia fund focused on buyout and strategic investments across a range of sectors in Asia Pacific.

MVM retains a significant interest in Ambio.

Ambio provides services for drugs approved by US Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and China National Medical Products Administration and has a robust pipeline of pre-clinical and clinical programs, Carlyle said in a statement.

The firm also partners with major global pharmaceutical firms to develop generic peptides.

The firm has two manufacturing sites in China and the US, employing more than 400 people and servicing a global premier biopharmaceutical customer base.

Since November 2014, Ambio has increased revenue more than 350% said Eric Bednarski, a partner at MVM.

Carlyle has invested more than $11.5 billion of equity in more than 65 transactions in the global healthcare industry as of June 30. In Asia, Carlyle has invested approximately $1.5 billion in 10 healthcare companies.

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