Attractive acquisition

Parexel makes $182M offer for ClinPhone

Amy Swinderman
NOTTINGHAM, U.K.—The Inter­active Voice Response (IVR) technology expertise of global clinical research services firm ClinPhone PLC has attracted the attention of Parexel International Corp., which last month made a $182 million acquisition offer.On June 13, Parexel, a contract research organization (CRO) based in Waltham, Mass., announced that its board reached an agreement with ClinPhone's board on a $182 million acquisition offer that would merge ClinPhone with Parexel's eClinical solutions subsidiary, Perceptive Informatics Inc. The acquisition is expected to close by Sept. 30, subject to American and British regulatory approvals.
 
Parexel was not the only company to show an interest in acquiring ClinPhone. Shortly after Parexel made its move, Durham, N.C.-based CRO Quintiles threw its hat in the ring, announcing it was considering a cash counterbid that would trump Parexel's offer.

However, on June 29, Quintiles announced it had a change of heart. Quintiles Senior Director of Corporate Communications Dick Jones says Quintiles decided instead to focus on its internal efforts, particularly Cenduit, a joint venture with Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Serving the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for 15 years, Nottingham, England-based ClinPhone has to date been intent on staying independent, but CEO Steve Kent says a partnership with Parexel will present growth opportunities the company. Kent says ClinPhone and Parexel are "very excited" about their potential partnership, which would marry ClinPhone's IVR and electronic data capture (EDC) offerings with Paraxel's imaging expertise.

"If anything, this moves us forward faster," Kent says. "There are a lot of positives for both our staff and our customers because at the end of the day, we would be able to advance our eClinical strategy much faster in a combination with Parexel. The vision we have of how we're going to build the company from where we are is the same as Parexel's. We feel it would put us in a position to develop a broader suite of products that could provide more solutions to our clients and effect a greater interaction of products in the market."
 
Parexel Chairman and CEO Josef von Rickenbach says his company, which has served Phase I to Phase IV clinical researchers for 25 years, is confident that ClinPhone and Parexel can combine their services to become a "powerful presence in the emerging market." Although the two companies compete with each other in the IVR space, they have a lot of complimentary services, he adds.

"We have worked with ClinPhone before in clinical trials, on a project-by-project basis," Jones says.  "We feel that ClinPhone fits with our strategy of using technology to improve the clinical research process. We're obviously very interested in their intellectual property, but for the most part, what attracts us to ClinPhone is its employees. We fully expect to retain those employees and build on future growth together, and we believe that together, we have a stronger offering and can do a better job for our clients than we can individually." DDN 

Amy Swinderman

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