Houlihan Lokey Advises on the Merger of Chesapeake IRB and Schulman IRB to Create Advarra

Houlihan Lokey is pleased to announce the merger of Chesapeake IRB, a portfolio company of Linden Capital Partners (Linden), and Schulman IRB, a portfolio Company of Northlane Capital Partners (Northlane), to create Advarra. The transaction closed on November 7, 2017.

The transaction combines the research industry's two most respected institutional review boards (IRBs) to create Advarra, the premier provider of IRB, institutional biosafety committee (IBC), and research compliance services in North America. The new organization will leverage mutual strengths in technology, regulatory expertise, and customer service to serve the increasingly complex needs associated with research.

Chesapeake IRB, an AAHRPP-accredited company, provides independent IRB submission and review services to pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies, as well as academic medical centers and hospital systems. Its paperless, cloud-based submission and review platform, CIRBI, leads the field and has set the standard in review turnaround time, quality, and document accessibility. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Chesapeake IRB also operates a wholly owned subsidiary, IRB Services, with offices in Toronto and Montreal, Canada.

Schulman IRB, an AAHRPP-accredited company, has been a leader in the protection of human research participants in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada since 1983. Schulman IRB offers thorough, timely IRB review services—including dedicated review capabilities for all phases of research across all therapeutic areas—to clinical trial sponsors, CROs, investigators, and institutions. Schulman IRB also provides global consulting services in clinical quality assurance and human research protections as well as an institutional biosafety committee service.

Linden, based in Chicago, Illinois, is a private equity firm focused exclusively on leveraged buyouts in the healthcare industry. Linden's strategy is based upon three elements: healthcare specialization, integrated private equity and operating expertise, and strategic relationships with large corporations. Linden invests in middle-market platforms in healthcare services in addition to those in medical products, pharmaceuticals, and specialty distribution.

Northlane, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a private equity firm that invests in growing, highly profitable middle-market companies in the following three sectors: healthcare, outsourced business services, and industrial technology. Northlane generally looks for platform companies with EBITDA of $5 million to $30 million.

This transaction highlights Houlihan Lokey's expertise in pharmaceutical services and represents another successful transaction within the IRB sector. Houlihan Lokey is among the most active advisors in this segment of the market, having recently advised Chesapeake IRB on its sale to Linden in December 2015 and Schulman Associates on its investment from American Capital Equity (now operating as Northlane) in December 2014. This transaction further strengthens Houlihan Lokey's leadership in the healthcare sector and highlights its continued momentum and leadership in the pharmaceutical services space.


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