Reaction Biology Announces Closing of Cobepa Growth Investment and CEO Transition

-John H. Johnson Named Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair of Reaction Biology ~

-Reaction Biology well positioned to expand its global drug discovery capabilities~

MALVERN, Pa., March 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Reaction Biology (“Reaction” or the “Company”), a leading provider of drug discovery services, today announced the closing of a significant investment by Cobepa, a global private equity, to fuel the Company’s continued development, growth and expansion of the service line.

The Company also announced the appointment of John H. Johnson to the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board of Directors of Reaction Biology, effective immediately. Reaction Board of Directors and Matthew Oristanoformer President and Chief Executive Officer, believe that the time has come to make the transition to the management of the Company.

“Reaction Biology has a decades-long history of delivering excellent science and driving customer-centric innovation,” said Pierre Connolly, Managing Director and Head of Cobepa North America. “With John’s deep experience growing life sciences companies, we believe this partnership will bring significant benefits to Reaction’s customers, employees and investors.”

John H. JohnsonCEO and Director of the Board of Reaction Biology, said, “I look forward to working closely with the management and scientific teams – as well as the entire organization – to realize the full potential of the company in drug discovery services. This investment from Cobepa provides additional capital and resources that will enable us to develop our capabilities, expand our footprint and cultivate key talent to support our long-term growth plans. The partnership also enhances our ability to respond to changing needs. of our biopharmaceutical customers – and most importantly of the supplier and patient communities they ultimately serve.

“With its unparalleled depth in biochemical kinases and epigenetic, cellular and related assays, Reaction Biology exemplifies the attributes we prioritize in our investments – demonstrated value for customers, sustainable market leadership and attractive growth paths, said Edward Sohn, Director of Cobepa North America. “We are thrilled to partner with John and the team at Reaction Biology for the next phase in the evolution of the company.”

John H. Johnson is a recognized leader in the biopharmaceutical industry with over three decades of experience. He was most recently CEO of Strongbridge Biopharma plc prior to its acquisition by Xeris Biopharma Holdings. Mr. Johnson has held senior positions in major global companies, including Johnson & Johnson, where he has spent most of his career. He served as Group President of the Biopharmaceuticals Company at Johnson & Johnson, where he was responsible for the Johnson & Johnson Biotechnology, Immunology and Oncology business activities. Mr. Johnson also served as President of Eli Lilly & Company’s global oncology unit, following the company’s acquisition of ImClone Systems, Inc. in 2008, where he served as CEO and board member of administration of ImClone. John is also an experienced director having served on numerous boards of directors in industrial services, biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies. Mr. Johnson is currently Chairman of Autolus Therapeutics (AUTL) and a director of Xeris Biopharma Holdings, Inc. (XERS), Axogen (AXGN) and Verastem Oncology (VSTM).

Mr. Oristano commented, “Over the past few years, Reaction Biology has experienced exceptional growth by expanding its testing portfolio and geographic footprint around the world. I am convinced that under by John Johnson leadership, the Company will continue to build on its capabilities as a global leader in drug discovery. »

MM. Johnson, Connolly and Sohn added, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank Matt for his leadership and many contributions to the company over the past 18 years.

Investment in Reaction Biology continues Cobepa’s history of close partnerships with biopharmaceutical service providers, most recently as majority shareholder of BioAgilytix, a global CRO offering integrated bioanalytical solutions focused on large molecules, prior to its recapitalization majority by Cinven in December 2021. Mr. Johnson was a member of the board of directors of BioAgilytix during the period of Cobepa’s investment.

Golub Capital financed the transaction. William Blair & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Reaction Biology, and Piper Sandler acted as exclusive financial advisor to Cobepa. White & Case LLP acted as legal counsel to Cobepa on the transaction.

About reaction biology
Founded in 2001, Reaction is a contract research organization (CRO) that provides a full range of drug discovery services to more than 1,800 biopharmaceutical customers worldwide. Reaction’s capabilities include functional biochemical assays, compound screening, a wide range of mechanistic and biophysical studies, and an extensive range of cellular assays. Reaction maintains one of the largest kinase assay panels in the world with over 750 unique assays. The company carries out more than 5,000 customer projects each year with its more than 2,000 validated tests. The Company has laboratory facilities at Malvern, Pennsylvaniaand Freiburg, Germanywith approximately 130 employees.

About Cobepa
With offices at new York, Brusselsand Munich, Cobepa SA (“Cobepa”) is a private investment company backed by European entrepreneurial families. Cobepa manages a diversified portfolio of private equity investments representing over $4.5 billion capital. Cobepa invests in leading companies with superior business models, sustainable market positions and leading management teams. Cobepa North America primarily focuses on investments in the healthcare, business services and technology services sectors, in companies that can benefit from an agile financial sponsor. For more information, visit

Health Elixir Public Relations
Lindsay Rocco
+1 862-596-1304
[email protected]


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