Cohortias plans to expand to Peru as it prepares for a sale - CEO

Interview 12 September

Cohortias plans to expand to Peru as it prepares for a sale - CEO

Cohortias, a Mexico City-based clinical research company, plans to venture into Peru next year as it seeks to expand its geographical footprint in Latin America to become more attractive to investors, CEO Martijn Wallert said.  

The closely held company has been approached by US-based financial and strategic investors, but no deal transpired because the parties could not reach an agreement, he added.  It plans to fund its geographic expansion with internal resources and does expect to raise fresh capital, said Wallert, who co-founded the business.  

As one of the few clinical research companies in Latin America, Cohortias has an annual revenue of around USD 4.5m, and an EBIDTA of USD 1.2m, the CEO said, noting that multiples in the industry range between 12x and 15x EBITDA.  

Cohortias expects to eventually attract the attention of strategic investors who want to expand their infrastructure in Latin America, including its main competitors in the US, he said.   

It is also receptive to approaches from financial and legal advisors that could help in the event of a potential sale, Wallert said.  

The executive thought about eventually selling Cohortias ever since he co-founded the business in 2017, as he believed large clinical research companies will eventually realize Latin America’s cost effectiveness, availability of patients and the emerge of FDA-approved regulatory agencies, the CEO said.  

The region’s proximity to the US pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies has also proved to be a great advantage, he noted. “Our clients used to perform their clinical trials in Europe, Asia or even Australia,” he said.  

The executive also noted that the high standard of care in the countries where Cohortias operates allows it to carry out large scale and even experimental Phase I studies.  Cohortias operates in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.  

According to the CEO, clinical research is not particularly vulnerable to business cycles or economic swings. By the time pharmaceutical companies reach out to Cohortias, they have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of a molecule, and they need the trials to place their drugs on the market, he said.  

Cohortias conducts clinical trials in more than 200 hospitals in Latin America, Wallert said. It has enrolled more than 10,000 patients, he added.  

Another company that conducts clinical trials in Latin America is Panama-based VaxTrials, according to Mergermarket data.  

This news service reported last month that Colombian vaccine company VaxThera hired VaxTrials to carry out the clinical trials for its viral-vector Covid-19 booster vaccine.

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