Mumbai: US-based private equity firm Carlyle Group is set to acquire a minority stake in Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech International Ltd, according to two people familiar with the development. The investment, which will be made through Carlyle Asia Growth Partners, is around Rs250-300 crore, said one of the two, asking not to be identified. The size of the stake being acquired isn’t known.
Carlyle will buy the stake from existing investors ICICI Venture, International Finance Corp. (IFC) and Subhkam Ventures, which had invested in Bharat Biotech between 2005 and 2007.
“The term sheet between the parties have been signed two weeks ago and the deal is expected to be closed in a month’s time,” said the second person on condition of anonymity.
A Carlyle spokesperson declined to comment. Spokespersons at Bharat Biotech, ICICI Venture, IFC and Subhkam Ventures did not respond to emails.
The deal has been in the making since at least the beginning of the year. At the time, media reports had said that the deal could involve a 30% stake sale.
Bharat Biotech specializes in research and development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of vaccines and bio-therapeutics.
Set up by Dr Krishna Ella (chairman & managing director), who worked as research faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, Bharat Biotech has 50 global patents to its name, of which five are for new molecules.
Bharat Biotech has received about Rs300 crore funding from various government agencies and NGOs such as the department of science and technology, department of biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The vaccine maker has been in the news following its work on a vaccine candidate to prevent the Zika virus infection in humans. The company has completed pre-clinical studies and has sought government approval to begin phase 1 trials.
Carlyle, which has been an active investor in the Indian pharmaceuticals and healthcare space, also invested in Naresh Trehan-owned Global Health Pvt. Ltd, which manages and operates the super-specialty hospital Medanta the Medicity in the national capital region of Delhi.
In September 2015, Carlyle Asia Partners IV acquired about a 38% stake in diagnostic chain Metropolis Healthcare.
Carlyle Group was also in talks to acquire the injectable drugs business of Claris Lifesciences Ltd, Mint reported in August.
According to Investec, a global specialist banking group, private equity investors in the Indian healthcare sector will exit close to $3 billion of primary investments in the next two-three years through secondary sales and public market listings.
Between 2011-12 and now, 233 healthcare companies have received a little more than $4 billion in funding from private equity funds and strategic investors, making India’s healthcare sector one of the most sought-after destinations for domestic and global investors.
India’s pharmaceutical market may reach $20 billion this year and about $55 billion by 2020 from about $18 billion in 2014, clocking a compound annual growth rate of over 22%, according to a joint study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) and TechSci Research released in June.