December 17, 2015 / 10:55 PM / 4 years ago

Exclusive: U.S. drug research data company ERT explores sale - sources

(Reuters) - U.S. pharmaceutical research data management company eResearch Technology Inc (ERT) is exploring a sale that could value it at between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

ERT’s private equity owner, Genstar Capital, has hired investment bank Jefferies LLC to run an auction for the company, the people said on Thursday.

ERT currently has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than $120 million, two of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Genstar declined to comment, while ERT and Jefferies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Based in Philadelphia, ERT provides cardiac safety, respiratory efficacy and other healthcare data to biopharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations in order to facilitate the clinical trials of new drugs.

San Francisco-based Genstar took ERT private in 2012 for $400 million. Since then, ERT has grown rapidly, benefiting from the pharmaceutical industry’s drive to cut costs, reduce clinical trial times and expand its research and development presence around the world.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Carl O'Donnell in New York

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