WILMINGTON – Life science conglomerate Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), which is based in Wilmington and has a large presence in Research Triangle Park, is going public today.

The company announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 60 million shares of its common stock at $27.00 per share. Shares of PPD’s common stock are expected to begin trading on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday under the symbol “PPD.” The offering is expected to close on Feb. 10, subject to customary closing conditions.

It has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 9 million shares of its common stock at the initial public offering price less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

PPD was founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Fred Eshelman who took the firm public in 1996 after launching it in 1985. He moved PPD to Wilmington in 1986. The firm was acquired and taken private in 2011.

Talk emerged late last year that PPD might seek a return to the public markets.

It employs some 23,000 people across 100 offices – including a large one in the Triangle – in 46 countries.

In 2017, PPD raised $500 million in new capital, raising the company’s value to an estimated $9 billion.