Spin-out company Molecular Profiles purchased by US-based Columbia Laboratories

Molecular Profiles, one of The University of Nottingham’s longest established spin-out businesses, has been purchased by Columbia Laboratories, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRX) of Boston, for approximately $25m (£16m).Molecular Profiles was established in 1997 by an academic group at The University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy, who identified an opportunity to deliver sophisticated analytical and development solutions to meet the growing needs of the pharmaceutical industry.

The company offers innovative pharmaceutical development services (such as formulation and clinical manufacturing), as well as providing advanced material characterisation and expert consultation for Intellectual Property (IP) issues. Molecular Profiles’ clients range from large multinational pharmaceutical companies to specialised drug-delivery firms and biotechs.

Molecular Profiles’ co-founder and former Chairman, Professor Martyn Davies from The University of Nottingham, has been appointed as an advisor to Columbia Laboratories’ Board of Directors. Speaking about the sale of the business to Columbia, he said: “Molecular Profiles is a real success story for The University of Nottingham. It is a spin-out from a University research laboratory, where I was working alongside Professors Clive Roberts and Phil Williams. It has also been the winner of two Queen’s Awards and now employs over 50 people, many of whom are bright graduates from the University.
“The sale represents a great opportunity to combine with a proven pharmaceutical company to strengthen all aspects of our business. It also gives us a strong base in the USA and provides an opportunity to increase our activities, achieve our vision and take the company to the next stage.”
Dr Susan Huxtable, Director of IP Commercialisation at The University of Nottingham, added: “This deal is great news for both Molecular Profiles and The University of Nottingham. With Columbia Laboratories as its parent organisation, Molecular Profiles now has the support of a business with huge experience in the pharmaceutical sector which will enable it to enter new international markets.
“The sale also demonstrates that the knowledge and expertise emerging from The University of Nottingham is highly valued by industry, and underlines the contribution that the commercialisation of university expertise and know-how can make to the economy and society.”
Columbia Laboratories, Inc. has a long heritage in drug development. The Company is probably best known for its CRINONE® (progesterone gel) product, which is marketed through strategic alliances in the United States and also in over 60 other countries globally.
Frank Condella, Columbia’s President and CEO commented: “This transaction represents an exciting step in Columbia’s ongoing transformation, and has numerous strategic advantages.
“Consistent with our stated strategy, we deployed our capital to acquire a growing, cash-flow positive and profitable company with a large customer base that strengthens and significantly diversifies Columbia’s revenue stream. We look forward to its continued growth as Molecular Profiles further penetrates the growing pharmaceutical outsourcing market for formulation development and manufacturing services.
“We are broadening our technical expertise with a management team that is well-recognized in the field of pharmaceutical development and analytical services. By transitioning CRINONE quality management and technical support to Molecular Profiles, within close proximity of our CRINONE manufacturing sites and supply chain management in Europe, we anticipate significant improvements in efficiencies and greater responsiveness to Merck Serono, our largest customer for CRINONE,” Condella concluded.
For more information about Molecular Profiles, visit
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