Drug development services firm Certara raises $670 million in IPO

(Reuters) -U.S. drug development consultancy Certara Inc said on Thursday it sold shares in its initial public offering at $23 apiece, above its target range, to raise about $670 million.

The IPO valued Certara, which is owned by Stockholm-based private equity firm EQT, at $3.5 billion.

Certara said it sold 29.1 million shares after it had aimed to sell 24.4 million shares at a target price range of $19-$22 each.

The Princeton, New Jersey-based company was formed in 2008 after biotechnology firm Tripos International acquired Pharsight Corp. Certara provides pharmaceutical companies with computer-based drug trials using virtual patients rather than human beings - a technology known as “biosimulation.”

Certara’s revenue rose to $178.9 million for the nine months ended September from $154.7 million last year. The company recorded profit of $5.1 million compared with a loss of $2.9 million last year.

In 2017, EQT acquired a majority stake in Certara from New York-based private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners for $850 million. EQT will continue to own a majority stake in Certara after the IPO, the company said.

Shares in Certara are due to begin trading on Nasdaq on Friday under the symbol “CERT.”

Jefferies, Morgan Stanley, BofA Securities and Credit Suisse are among the lead underwriters for the IPO.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis