Concept Life Sciences acquires immuno-oncology specialist

Equistone spokesperson, Andi Tomkinson

Concept Life Sciences acquires immuno-oncology specialist

Drug discovery, development and analytical services company, Concept Life Sciences (Concept), has acquired Edinburgh-based Aquila BioMedical (Aquila), to bolster its discovery capabilities.

Aquila is an innovative pre-clinical contract research organisation with expertise in immuno-oncology, immunology and multiplex histology. The business, which was formed in 2011 by experts from The University of Edinburgh, will broaden Concept’s range of integrated drug discovery and development services in the cancer treatment space.

Formed in 2014 with backing from private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe, Concept has expanded through organic growth and targeted acquisitions. The Manchester-headquartered business now employs more than 700 staff and operates from ten sites across the UK.

Andi Tomkinson, investment director at Equistone and non-executive director at Concept, said: “We have been impressed by Concept’s ability to identify and execute strategic acquisitions in the UK life sciences market. Concept is a fantastic example of a Manchester business leading the way in healthcare innovation and the company’s ongoing success is testament to the work of the management team.”

Michael Fort, executive chairman, Concept Life Sciences, said: “We are excited to add Aquila to the Concept group. The company’s offering in translational biology adds significant value to our current discovery services, and broadens the wider group’s therapy offering. Both Aquila and Concept have been built around the same value of working closely with customers to tailor services according to the project objectives, and together we will provide high quality, integrated solutions.”

Professor Stephen Anderton, co-founder of Aquila Biomedical and professor of therapeutic immunology at Edinburgh University, commented: “We are delighted to be joining the Concept Life Sciences group at this stage in both companies' development cycles. Concept's size, business development network and complementary scientific capacity will make the enhanced service offering attractive to the widest group of international clients, and will significantly accelerate our growth.”