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UI Investissement supports ERBC in its ambition to become the European leading independent non-clinical Contract Research Organization (CRO)

UI Investissement, alongside MACSF, is supporting the development of ERBC Group, specialized in non-clinical research performing the evaluation of drug candidates for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
ERBC's ambition, through both organic and external growth, is to become the leading independent European non-clinical CRO.

Success story: from a Central France based SME to a European jewel

Founded in 1973 in Baugy (France) and managed by Serge RICHARD since 1995 (who joined in 1982) CERB (Centre de Recherches Biologiques) is specialized in non-clinical safety assessment (in-vivo, in-vitro and ex-vivo toxicology, safety pharmacology and proof-of-concept studies) to support initiation of human clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Born on 1st November 2019, when CERB (France) acquired the toxicology activities from RTC (Italy). By merging the complementary portfolios of pharmacology and toxicology, a new full-service provider was created and renamed to ERBC. Its portfolio spans expert services from late discovery to first-in-human, including general and genetic toxicology, reproductive & juvenile toxicology and safety pharmacology, supported by inhouse post life services (chemical and bio-analytical services, histology and pathology, etc.).

ERBC offers its services from 3 facilities in France and Italy, with multidisciplinary teams of experts, including leaders in safety cardiology, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicology, electrophysiology and pathophysiology. Preclinical safety assessment aims at bringing only safe and effective compounds to the clinical trials, where approximately only 1 in 100 candidates make it through the preclinical phase to any clinical trial. During the past 18+ months, ERBC supported the safety evaluation of 10-20 COVID-19 vaccines and medicines, some of which made it to the market, helping to fight the pandemic.

Building the independent European leader

In a highly regulated and fast-growing market (7-10% per year) and driven by the outsourcing of R&D and safety assessment, increased regulatory requirements and the need for strong scientific expertise to support pharmaceutical and biotech companies, ERBC's position in Europe is strengthened through an end-to-end approach with its customers as part of a comprehensive toxicology offering. ERBC will further develop and expand its services by organic growth and acquisitions, adding value to the projects of its customers.

Serge Richard (Founder of the Group), Pascal Champéroux (Chief Scientific Officer), some historical shareholders as well as regional investors (CCD and Spromec) will reinvest a minority stake in ERBC. Where UI Investissement will hold the majority share, ERBC’s management, lead by Christophe Priou who takes over as CEO, will also (re)invest.

ERBC key figures

  • 3 sites in France and Italy
  • >260 employees
  • 15,000 m² of laboratories
  • More than 250 clients
  • >500 projects completed since its creation (November 2019)

About ERBC

ERBC is a leading independent European non-clinical CRO (Contract Research Organization), enabling the evaluation of drug candidates on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology companies. With >260 employees, based in France and Italy, ERBC offers healthcare and chemical professionals a complete range of experimental non-clinical solutions as well as regulatory support. ERBC has conducted more than 500 projects since its creation, including nearly 20 related to drugs and vaccines against Covid-19.

Press contact: Christophe Priou –

About UI Investissement

UI Investissement is an independent Private Equity fund specialized in the development of unlisted French companies. For more than 50 years, UI has been working alongside the managers of growing start-ups, SMEs and ETIs to create and develop economically and sustainably successful companies. UI Investissement manages nearly €1.5 billion in assets and invests with 300 managers in sectors of activity that are essential to society, such as health, agrobusiness, services and industry. Growth and buyout capital, the historical core of UI’s activity, represents more than half of the assets under management and about fifty companies that can rely on UI’s operational expertise and methodological tools. At the same time, the teams and investment vehicles dedicated to innovation and consolidation enable UI to support companies throughout their life cycle and contribute to the economic dynamism of the regions. UI has currently more than 70 employees and 13 regional offices in Besançon, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Orleans, Reims, Rennes and Strasbourg, in addition to its teams in Paris.

Press contact: Laurent Maillard - +33 6 60 59 77 07 –

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