Shoosmiths advises on sale of Primer Design to French listed company Novacyt SA

Shoosmiths advises on sale of Primer Design to French listed company Novacyt SA


Author: Kara Shadbolt

National law firm Shoosmiths has advised the shareholders of UK-leading PCP specialists, Primer Design, on its sale to international cancer and infectious disease diagnostics listed company, Novacyt.

The French company, Novacyt, which has a base in Cambridge and raised part of the purchase price to complete the acquisition of Primer Design, through an oversubscribed funding round which raised 7.75 million (EUR).

Primer Design is focused on the design, manufacture, validation and supply of real-time PCR kits and reagents. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a process used in molecular biology to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.

The company was founded within Southampton University's School of Medicine and since its humble beginnings the company has gone from strength to strength - distributing its products to thousands of customers in over 100 countries around the world.

Shoosmiths corporate partner Mark Shepherd led the deal with support from associate Lisa Sigalet and solicitor Ross Lang.

Rob Powell, founder, Director of Research and Development and majority shareholder at Primer Design said: 'Mark and the team at Shoosmiths offered us exemplary advice on the sale of our company and had exactly the expertise we needed to get the deal over the line.

'The combination of Novacyt and Primer Design will allow the enlarged group to accelerate its growth plans and is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the team. Primer Design customers can expect this partnership to lead to enhanced and more diverse products, with the enlarged team providing additional support.'

Graham Mullis, Group CEO of Novacyt, said: 'Our investors recognise the strategic rationale of combining Primer Design's non-clinical molecular diagnostic products with Novacyt's regulatory and sales infrastructure.

'Together we will accelerate the development and sales of new approved diagnostic products. I am excited at the potential of the combined group to accelerate growth and deliver the identified significant strategic and operational synergies.'

Primer Design continues to deliver a strong financial performance. In the first six months of its current financial year, sales and profits are significantly ahead of management expectations. Unaudited half-year sales were £2m (2.5m (EUR)) and operating profit £720k (907k (EUR)), which is more than 33 per cent ahead of the prior year.

Shoosmiths' corporate team advises public and private companies, management teams, investors and debt providers through the business life cycle. Shoosmiths work with businesses from start-up and first round finance through to mergers and acquisitions, MBO and MBI transactions, development funding and on exits, by way of sale, listing or private equity investment.

Nationally, the corporate team is ranked in joint first place by deal volume in Experian's UK Deal Review and Advisor League Table. The team was recognised for its mergers and acquisitions expertise at the 2015 M&A Awards, winning the Law Firm of the Year category.