BDO’s Merger, Growth into Biopharmaceuticals Explained

In light of BDO’s recent acquisition of BioProcess Technology Consultants (BPTC), INSIDE Public Accounting asked leaders from both firms to discuss further expansion within the life sciences industry, growth strategies and how the merger will help clients.

BPTC is a chemistry, manufacturing and controls consulting service. Chicago-based BDO (FY18 net revenue of $1.46 billion) sees the merger as expanding its existing services in developing new biopharmaceutical products while minimizing risk.

IPA spoke with Eric Jia-Sobota, national leader of BDO’s Industry Specialty Services and Life Sciences practices, and Howard Levine, Ph.D., managing director and national leader of the Bioprocess Technology Group within BDO’s Life Sciences practice.

IPA: It’s starting to become more common for accounting and advisory firms to acquire consulting firms, but often they’re related to technology, such as cybersecurity. Acquiring a consultancy related to the biopharmaceutical industry is unusual. Why the interest?

Jia-Sobota: Our clients frequently look to leverage the industry experience and client-specific insights our collective team has, including in the life sciences realm. The life sciences industry is an important vertical for BDO – especially as technology’s infiltration of the space continues to create both new opportunities and mirroring risks.

For instance, while breakthroughs in CAR-T and other cell gene therapies have huge potential, biopharmaceutical manufacturers can’t neglect investment in their manufacturing processes as demand for biopharmaceuticals continues to rise. While it may be tempting to invest in new facilities to alleviate production capacity shortages, in the long term, companies must invest in new technologies and methods for bioprocessing.

Biopharmaceutical manufacturers need to develop cost-effective methods for scaling their operations, or else lose a competitive edge to those whose investments in technology and new processes make their therapies more affordable. The addition of BPTC enhances our ability to help biopharmaceutical manufacturers meet these evolving demands and de-risk product development while at the same time capitalizing on new, tech-enabled opportunities to further improve patient outcomes.

IPA: What was so attractive about BioProcess Technology Consultants that made BDO pull the trigger on an acquisition?

Jia-Sobota: BDO and BPTC’s technical and operational services to life sciences entities are complementary, with a focus on helping organizations navigate risk, make informed investment decisions and seize new opportunities. The addition of BPTC supports the continued growth and diversification of life sciences capabilities at BDO.

IPA: How will this acquisition help BDO clients? Can you give me an example?

Levine: The addition of BPTC enhances BDO’s ability to advise clients on technical, strategic and regulatory aspects of biopharmaceutical development at all stages in the product lifecycle. For instance, there is growing concern within the biopharma sector that current processes and facilities may not have capacity to meet rising global demand for high-volume biologics. Through the addition of BPTC, BDO can further assist companies in implementing process intensification practices that can help bridge the gap between supply and demand, while also improving process efficiency and even product quality.

IPA: BPTC founder Howard L. Levine is quoted as saying his firm helped companies address “unmet medical needs and increase patient access to novel medicines.” How so?

Levine: While emerging technologies and innovations – like CAR-T therapies and others – show promise for treating formerly intractable diseases or injuries, rising costs limit their accessibility for patients. The professionals from BPTC who have joined BDO will complement our ability to help clients ensure the long-term success of therapies by helping them improve their cost-effectiveness while maintaining or improving efficacy. This may include developing and implementing process intensification strategies – such as continuous bioprocessing.

IPA: How does this acquisition fit into BDO’s growth strategy?

Jia-Sobota: The addition of BPTC aligns with recent investments BDO has made in innovation across the firm – including added resources in technology solutions, digital transformation, risk advisory and data privacy. These additions position us well for continued growth in the coming years and align with our commitment to offering our clients a comprehensive suite of services across both industry agnostic – and specific – business imperatives.

IPA: What can clients expect in the future in terms of additional acquisitions like this one?

Jia-Sobota: As part of our commitment to client service, we are continuing to make investments in innovation that can bolster the support we provide clients across industries.