San Diego Business Journal

WuXi AppTec is making moves in San Diego.

The Chinese pharmaceutical company earlier this month bought San Diego-based Pharmapace.

Pharmapace is a contract research organization, or CRO, which play niche roles in drug development. The company specializes in biometric services, used for authentication in clinical trials, regulatory submissions and marketing support.

“With this acquisition, WuXi Clinical expanded its biometrics capabilities in the United States and Europe,” Wuxi said in a news release.

Deal terms weren’t disclosed.

Wuxi is no stranger to San Diego. Late last year the company expanded its San Diego footprint through a new center offering pharmacology, discovery and other services.

In addition, Wuxi in 2017 acquired Shanghai-headquartered HD Biosciences, which included HD’s San Diego operations.

Upon the deal closing Pharmapace, would become a subsidiary of Wuxi Clinical, the CRO arm of Wuxi AppTec.

The acquisition fits with the trend of consolidation in the CRO industry, both locally and nationwide. Boutique CROs find themselves being swallowed by larger fish who want to become a one-stop shop.

In addition, private equity firms are now chasing CROs, which deliver steady returns, as opposed to biotechs that sharply rise and fall based on clinical trial results.

For instance, last year Seabright Fund took a majority stake in San Diego-based Explora Biolabs.

WuXi AppTec has 160 employees in San Diego, but the company did not return a request inquiring about the square footage of its San Diego center.