(Bloomberg) -- Triton has kicked off the sale of UK specialty pharma business Pharmanovia, a deal that may test the appetite for buyout financing in Europe, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The private equity firm is working with advisers on an auction process that could value Pharmanovia at more than $1.5 billion, according to the people. It’s already held preliminary discussions with potential suitors, they said.

Pharmanovia is likely to draw interest mainly from other private equity firms, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Deliberations are ongoing and Triton could also decide to keep the asset if price expectations aren’t met, the people said.

A representative for Triton declined to comment.

While private equity interest in health-care assets remains strong, a lack of cheap financing has been making it harder to get transactions over the line. Potential deals in the works include an acquisition of veterinary drugmaker Dechra Pharmaceuticals Plc by EQT AB in what would be one of the largest take-privates in the UK this year. Elsewhere, buyout firms including Advent International are considering bids for Viatris Inc.’s European consumer-health assets.

Triton invested in Pharmanovia in 2019 and the company has since grown through bolt-on acquisitions. Pharmanovia has products across its four core therapeutic areas – oncology, endocrinology, neurology and cardiovascular - and says it will be one of the fastest growing global specialty pharma companies by 2025.

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