The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a probe into Thermo Fisher Scientific’s proposed acquisition of PPD, a clinical research organisation (CRO).

Thermo Fisher entered a definitive agreement to acquire PPD for $47.50 per share in cash or a total value of $17.4bn in April.

The company also agreed to assume PPD’s net debt of nearly $3.5bn.

As part of the investigation, the CMA will consider if the deal will lead to the stifling of competition within any market or markets for goods or services in the country.

The CMA has invited comments on the transaction from any interested party until 1 November.

PPD offers a wide range of clinical research and laboratory services.

Following completion of the acquisition, PPD would become a part of Thermo Fisher’s Laboratory Products and Services unit.

The transaction would bolster the Thermo Fisher clinical research services business as well as extend services in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors.

A key supplier to the pharma and biotech industries, Thermo Fisher facilitates research and development as well as trials and production.

The deal is expected to be accretive to the adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of Thermo Fisher, adding $1.40 in the first year following its conclusion.

Subject to the necessary closing conditions and approvals, the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

In another development, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical sequencing unit and AstraZeneca finalised a multi-year, global collaboration for the co-development of next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostics last month.