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Icon buys PriceSpective to add pricing skills to outcomes biz

By Nick Taylor , 29-Feb-2012

Icon has bought PriceSpective to add market access and pricing capabilities to its growing health outcomes business.

Market access has become increasingly important as payers demand evidence of value for money in addition to traditional efficacy data. CROs’ (contract research organisations) have been quick to add capabilities to help biopharma clients with this emerging obstacle to bringing drugs to market.

“The acquisition underscores sponsors’ need for an integrated solution beyond the mere blocking and tackling of drug development”, John Kreger, equity analyst at William Blair, wrote. Kreger and other analysts report PriceSpective will cost Icon roughly $50m (€37m) in upfront and milestone payments.

Icon paid a similar amount for Oxford Outcomes in January 2011. Buying PriceSpective gives Icon a pricing and market access platform to take advantage of health economics and outcomes research done by Oxford Outcomes.

“PriceScriptive…aims to be the means by which health economics and outcomes research strategies are effectively commercialised. If executed well, we see the opportunity for meaningful synergies”, Tim Evans, senior analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote.

Emerging demand

Ciaran Murray, CEO of Icon, said PriceSpective’s “strong network of relationships with thousands of payers and market experts worldwide” will give it an edge but other CROs have similar strategies.

“While Icon is not the only CRO moving aggressively into the health outcomes arena, we think this is a forward-looking strategy as we see health outcomes and commercialisation strategies playing an increasingly important role in trial design during Phase III”, Evans wrote.

PriceSpective employs 80 people and has offices in London, Los Angeles, San Diego, Raleigh, and Boston. Analysts expect the business to add around $17m to Icon sales in 2012 and grow strongly next year.

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