International law firm Taylor Wessing has advised The Rohatyn Group on its investment in Optimapharm d.d. ("Optimapharm"), a contract research organisation headquartered in Croatia, with 14 offices across Europe, including a heavy presence in CEE. The investment establishes a partnership with the company’s founders Gordana Gregurić Čičak and Igor Čičak.
Optimapharm organises and manages clinical trials for US and Western European pharmaceutical companies, biotech players and medical device companies. With the investment, Optimapharm will seek to continue to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions.
The multijurisdictional deal required input from a number of foreign counsels focussing predominantly on Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Switzerland.
The deal required expertise drawn from across the firm's private equity, banking and finance and tax teams.
Commenting on the deal, private equity partner James Goold, said: "It was a pleasure advising The Rohatyn Group on this deal, especially as we were able to field a multidisciplinary team that showcased the depth of expertise we have across the firm in our various jurisdictions. The fact that we were able to successfully complete as the effects of COVID-19 are being felt by the market speaks to the quality of The Rohatyn Group's operations, the strength of the sector and of Optimapharm, and our seamless agility in providing a full client service during lockdown conditions."
"Optimapharm is a highly attractive business that provides a unique offering in the European CRO space, leveraging its roots in South-East Europe. We believe that they are well-positioned for continued growth given the increasing prevalence of clinical trial services outsourcing across many important market segments, including oncology, an area in which they have a particular expertise,” added Colin Clark, TRG’s Head of EMEA Private
Markets Investing and TRG Director Harold Chatelus. “CROs are increasingly acting as strategic advisors, actively proposing clinical study design advice and focusing on optimizing processes. We are proud to support the Company’s next chapter as well as the development of innovative treatments by Optimapharm’s clients. Taylor Wessing provided excellent assistance to us in navigating this multinational transaction to a successful conclusion in these challenging times".
The team was led by James Goold with the support of senior associates Mark Brewer and Alexander Walker, associate Luc Swietochowski, Sarah Wallace and trainee Tom Witte. Partner Lerika Joubert led the Banking and Finance team with the support of associates Anna Dugoni, Katie Horbury and trainee Laura Roberts, advising on the debt financing arrangements. Tax input was provided by partner Liz Wilson, senior counsel James Stewart and associate Alice Thomas.
The nature of the deal required work from across a variety of the firm's international offices. Partners Philip Hoflehner in Austria, Janka Brezániová and Ivana Meňhartová in the Czech Republic, Michael Stein in Germany, Torsten Braner in Hungary and Olav Nemling in Warsaw provided assistance from their respective geographies.