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Swiss drug giant buys Phila software firm for $10M+

Switzerland drug giant Lonza Group Ltd. pays over $10 million for MODA Technology Partners, West Conshohocken

Swiss-based Lonza Group Ltd., a $3 billion (annual sales) drug developer and manufacturer, says it's purchased MODA Technology Partners, a West Conshohocken maker of pharmaceutical compliance software. Lonza won't say what it paid. People familiar with the deal said Lonza paid more than $10 million.

Lonza's Rapid Testing Solutions, based in Walkerville, Md., has used MODA systems since 2007, unit head Doug Danne said in a statment. He said MODA's "informatics platform offered intelligent, real-time solutions and user-friendly trending tools" that boosted profits.

GE Healthcare and Pfizer are also MODA clients, said David Lipson, a MODA founding investor and the company's former chairman and CEO. He said initial investors from 2006 made "about two and a half times their money," good returns for a tough market. "This was a strategic fit," he added, and not necessarily a sign the deal market is coming back.

Lipson, founder of the former Integrated Systems Consulting Group, recruited former Integrated managers to several top posts at MODA, including current CEO Mike Desiderio, alongside MODA cofounders Steven Melick and Michael Goetter, who had worked together at the former Sycamore Group of Fort Washington. MODA employs  12, down from a peak of 20 when the company maintained its own direct salesforce. Lonza is "taking everybody, and we stay as we are," working together, Desiderio told me.

Besides Lipson, MODA backers include Rob Adams and his firm NextStage Capital, of Audubon, and Bob Adelson and his firm, Osage Ventures, Bala Cynwyd. Philadelphia investment bank Fairmount Partners' Charles Robins and Dick Thatcher closed the deal, with help from lawyer Michael Harrington of Fox Rothschild.