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Carlyle Group has agreed to buy a majority stake in life sciences company Unchained Labs for $435 million, the private equity firm disclosed .

The move underscores growing private equity interest in life sciences businesses, including biopharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations, that support drug development.

Founded in 2015, Unchained Labs provides laboratory tools used to devise biological products such as vaccines and gene therapy.

Carlyle will acquire more than 90% in California-based Unchained Labs from Danish asset manager Novo Holdings and venture capital firms TPG Biotech and Canaan Partners.

Unchained Labs’ management, led by Chief Executive Tim Harkness, will retain a minority stake after the deal closes in the second quarter of this year.

“This company has been growing by more than 30% year on year and we expect to increase investment in sales and marketing, particularly outside United States, and also research and development,” Robert Schmidt, a Carlyle managing director, said in an interview.

Carlyle’s investment in Unchained Labs was made out of the $18.5bn Carlyle Partners VII fund.

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