CRO consolidation continues with ICON buying PRA Health Sciences for $12B

ICON executives say technology is a key factor in the $12 billion acquisition. PRA Health Sciences has a mobile health platform that enables patients to participate in clinical trials from their homes.

Contract research organization ICON is set to acquire rival PRA Health Sciences in a $12 billion deal that will vault the combined company into second place among clinical trial services providers.

The combined company will be headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, where it will continue to be managed by ICON’s executive team, led by CEO Steve Cutler. Colin Shannon, the chairman and CEO of Raleigh, North Carolina-based PRA, will join the combined company’s board of directors along with one additional board member from that company.

The combined company’s customer base would be 53% large biopharma firms and 47% small, mid-size, and emerging companies. Oncology would be the biggest part of the combined portfolio at 30%, followed by anti-infectives and vaccines at 15% and immunology at 14%.

ICON said it will pay for the cash portion of the acquisition with cash on hand and debt financing. The boards of both companies have already approved the transaction, but shareholder and regulatory approvals are still needed. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.