Novo Group’s holding company acquired anti-infective therapy developer Xellia for about $700 million from 3i and other current shareholders, the companies said today.

They said the deal will allow Xellia to proceed with commercializing its pipeline of generic anti-infective treatments, while enhancing its focus on R&D and expanding its global manufacturing presence using Novo resources.

Xellia supplies Vancomycin and Colistimethate Sodium (CMS) manufactured using fermentation-based biological processes at plants in Denmark, Norway, Hungary, and China. The anti-infective developer has repositioned itself from an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer in the five years since it was spun off from Alpharma in 2008, following investment in the business from 3i, an investor focused on mid-market private equity, infrastructure, and debt management across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

“Now, as we focus on the future and the further development of the business, including the launch of our novel antibiotics pipeline, we look forward to working with Novo and benefitting from their expertise in the life science sector,” Xellia CEO Carl-Åke Carlsson said in a statement.

3i and Xellia’s other shareholders sold all their shares to Novo, which is also the major shareholder in Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, and Chr. Hansen Holding.

“Xellia is a leader in its business area, and a company with a long Scandinavian heritage, which we are proud to bring back into long-term Danish ownership. We look forward to establishing a strong relationship with Xellia’s experienced management team and invest together in the future success of the company,” Novo CEO Henrik Gürtler said in the statement.

The deal, subject to regulatory reviews, is set to close during the third quarter.

In its own statement, 3i noted that it helped strengthen Xellia’s board and senior management by introducing nonexecutive chairman Peter Chambré, who previously served as CEO of Cambridge Antibody Technology. Chambré worked with Carlsson to develop the strategy and assemble the board and management team, to which 3i added former Sandoz CEO Andreas Rummelt, and onetime Novozymes CFO Benny Loft.

According to 3i, Xellia invested more than $100 million in R&D and capacity expansion across its global manufacturing network, including a new fill-finish plant in Copenhagen, during the equity firm’s reign over the drug company. Xellia submitted 15 filings to regulators last year, with 17 planned for this year.

The Novo deal will bring 3i and the funds it manages a 2.3x return on their original Xellia investment of $208 million, 3i said. 

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