PRA International has tripled the size of its operation in Mumbai India after moving to a larger facility that is more centrally located to transport hubs, in order to "accommodate rapid growth". The contract research organisation (CRO) expects to grow its clinical staff at the site from its present number of 20, to 50 by the end of the year. The firm said it also will potentially increase its service capacity by 150 per cent in comparison to September 2007. PRA's Mumbai office currently carries out project management, clinical monitoring, investigator identification and recruitment, study site selection and validation, regulatory submissions, safety monitoring, pharmacy and drug depot services, among other things, and the additional services that will be offered as the office grows will include increased safety monitoring, protocol development, and medical writing, as well as other clinical consultation services, the CRO said. In addition to the office in Mumbai, where the clinical team is located, PRA also provides data management services out of its Pune office. In other news this week, UK's Premier Research has given its approval to a £60m takeover bid from private equity fund Pegasus Bidco, which made a 100 pence-per-share cash offer for the CRO. The deal is still at the mercy of shareholder approval. Premier has been on a growth spurt over the past three years, having made six purchases, two of them in July 2007, when it bought the business and assets of US firm ARS for $22.1m, primarily to expand its Oracle Clinical data management and database offerings and opportunities with in the US; and it also snapped up D-Target, a Swiss CRO that specialises in clinical research and regulatory services for medical device, combination products and biologics products manufacturers, in a deal worth up to CHF17.0m (€10.3m). However, it has since decided to return to private ownership in order to attempt to maintain competitiveness against larger, global CROs. "Premier Research came to the market in 2004 with the declared aim of building a competitive, international CRO business through a buy and build strategy," said company chairman Peter Fellner. "However the recent difficult stock market conditions and the reduced availability of debt funding currently prevent this strategy from being effectively pursued". In August last year some of the senior management of the CRO expressed a preliminary interest in putting in an offer for the firm and sought permission from the board to explore the option.
However, under the arrangement now proposed, Pegasus will buy the 7.9 per cent stake held by Premier's management.