Divestiture of MDS Pharma Services now complete

MDS Inc. now completes strategic repositioning so that it can move forward with a focus on MDS Nordion

Jeffrey Bouley
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario—With the completed sale of the early stage business segment (discovery through Phase IIa) its MDS Pharma Services business on march 8, MDS Inc.—a provider of products and services to the global health sciences markets—has now fully divested itself  of MDS Pharma Services.

"The completion of this transaction marks the end of the company's strategic repositioning and enables us to move forward with a focus on MDS Nordion," says Steve West, CEO of MDS Inc.

MDS has been in the process of a strategic repositioning that already saw the company divest itself of MDS Analytical Technologies and other portions of the MDS Pharma Services business. The company is now focused on MDS Nordion, West says, adding, "We are committed to serving our customers by further building our leadership positions in medical imaging and radiotherapeutics, and sterilization technologies."

MDS is providing transition services to the buyers of the businesses it has sold and has initiated the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Ottawa. These activities are expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2010. In addition, the divestiture of the MDS Pharma Services early stage business does not include the Canadian facility in Montreal, Quebec, which is expected to be closed by the end of February 2011.

"Ricerca Biosciences LLC, a provider of early-stage contract research organization services, has acquired our discovery and preclinical operations in Bothell, Wash.; Lyon, France; and Taipei, Taiwan," says David Spaight, president of MDS Pharma Services, who notes that Ricerca CEO Ian Lennox will lead the combined organization.

He also adds that a new corporation primarily owned by the private investment firms Bain Capital Ventures and SV Life Sciences has acquired MDS Pharma's development and regulatory services consultancy team and five early stage development facilities in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Lincoln, Neb.; Neptune, N.J.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Zurich, Switzerland.  Dr. Susan Thornton, will lead the new company to be funded by Bain Capital Ventures and SV Life Sciences.

"Bain Capital Ventures and SV Life Sciences have long and successful track records of building market-leading companies in healthcare and the life sciences sector," Spaight says, "[They] intend to provide our clients with a continuing source of the industry-leading drug discovery and early-stage development solutions they are accustomed to receiving from MDS Pharma Services."

Spaight says the decision to decommission the Montreal, facility over the course of this year, with site closure in early 2011, was made in order "to better align capacity with client demand in response to ongoing softness in the early stage market."

Approximately 225 jobs, mostly in Montreal, will be eliminated as a result of the site closure, he notes. As many as 50 positions at other locations are expected to be eliminated as a result of the sale of MDS Pharma Services.

"I'm grateful for the privilege of leading this organization for the past four years and getting to know so many talented professionals," Spaight says. "I'd like to thank them for their many contributions over the years and for the professionalism and focus they exhibited as we navigated the final leg of our journey together."


Jeffrey Bouley

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