Pharmaceutical research firm Plus-Project has completed an employee buyout worth £2m.
Employees at the contract research organisation (CRO), based at Alderley Park near Macclesfield, now own a 67.5% share of the company through an employee ownership trust (EOT).
The deal, which was supported by the corporate team from independent law firm Brabners, means Plus-Project is thought to be the first CRO in the UK to become employee-owned.
The company’s founder, Michael Wall, said that the new ownership model was intended to empower Plus-Project’s 26-strong team to further support the company’s growth. The firm now plans to double the size of its workforce across its three international bases in the UK, Poland and Ukraine.
Wall said: “We’ve always been a people-focused business so becoming employee-owned is a natural step for us. Our value as a research partner depends entirely on the expertise and talent we have at our disposal so it is only right that we create an environment where those same employees are truly bought into and feel part of the company’s future.
“We received invaluable support from the team at Brabners in what was a complex deal process. Our aim now is to expand the cohesive team we already have in place and build on the success we have achieved since the company was formed six years ago.”
Stephen Hadlow, partner at Brabners and lead adviser on the deal, said: “This a further great deal for our employee buyout team, which has a growing reputation and impressive track record for delivering EOT deals.
“The EOT model is an excellent way for business owners to achieve a full or partial exit whilst also maintaining and enhancing a hard-won business legacy and employee-centred culture. The opportunity to become part of an employee-owned business will be an invaluable selling point for the firm as it looks to attract additional talent both here in the UK and on the continent.”
Plus-Project was founded in 2014 and provides statistical analysis and programming services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, supporting the creation of new drugs.