InVentiv Health files for IPO

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InVentiv Health Group Holdings has filed for an initial public offering worth up to $100 million. The filing arrives at a time when its clients are under pressure to develop more efficient clinical trials and improve the way they commercialize their treatments.

InVentiv markets both outsourced clinical development and commercialization services to drugmakers. It operates a number of ad agencies, like GSW and Palio, as well as a group of PR agencies that includes Chandler Chicco Agency and Adheris Health, a medication adherence provider.

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InVentiv said it plans to use the money it raises to repay debt and for “general corporate purposes,” according to the S-1 it filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company's net revenue was $1.9 billion in 2015, compared to $1.8 billion in 2014 and $1.6 billion in 2013. It has reported a net loss three years in a row: $151.5 million in 2015, $189.6 million in 2014, and $237.6 million.

InVentiv has been privately held since Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private-equity firm, acquired it in 2010 for $1.1 billion. Since then, the company has made numerous acquisitions and expanded its global footprint. Last month one of its agencies, Palio, announced that it will close its offices in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Irvine, California.

InVentiv's revenue is fairly evenly split between clinical development and commercialization. The company reported that the clinical side of its business had $947.9 million in revenue in 2015, up from $870.3 million in 2014. Commercial revenues also went up, increasing 12.3% to $1.0 billion in 2015, compared to $943.7 million in 2014.

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The company said in the S-1 that it seeks to more actively market to small and mid-sized biopharma companies as well as expand its global offerings. InVentiv now employs 700 people in Japan, up from 10 in 2009. Japan is the world's second large pharmaceutical market, after the U.S.

Its main competitors fall into three categories: traditional CROs like Quintiles Transnational Holdings; advertising holding companies such as WPP Group and Publicis Groupe; and internal R&D departments at biopharma companies, its largest competitors. Still, inVentiv views the increasingly complicated biopharma development and commercialization process as a driver of potential growth.

Demand for drugs is expected to increase, driven by an aging population, growth in emerging markets, and an increase in chronic conditions, the company said. The therapies in development are also much more complex in makeup, requiring more complex clinical development processes and driving up costs.

“As business models continue to evolve in the healthcare sector, we believe that the rate of commercial outsourcing could follow a similar path to the clinical development market,” inVentiv said in the securities filing. “Higher costs and increased complexity are driving our clients to seek efficiency and expertise through outsourcing services.”