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JLL bids $123m for Bioclinica and plans imaging bolt-on

By Gareth Macdonald , 31-Jan-2013

Bioclinica has agreed to a takeover by JLL Partners in a deal that would see the eClinical provider merge with medical imaging firm CoreLab Partners.

JLL’s offer – which has been approved by Bioclinica’s board – values the firm at $123m (€91m) or $7.25 a share, which is 23% higher than its average price over the last 90 days. JLL is also buying CoreLab, however details of the deal – which will see current owner Amersand Capital Partners retain a major stake in the combined firm - were not disclosed.

Current Bioclinica CEO Mark Weinstein – who would lead the combined company– said that: “The combined platform significantly enhances our global scale, scientific expertise, and our prospects for accelerating the pace of innovation for customers.

We are also delighted that this transaction comes at a time when our industry is poised for growth in demand for imaging and eClinical solutions.”

Scale and cross selling

The addition of scale and expertise fits with what Weinstein said about the market last year. Speaking at the UBS Annual Global Healthcare Services Conference in February he said that – as with other aspects of research – Pharma customers are keen to work with fewer suppliers.

And despite being driven by JLL, the merger with CoreLab also fits with the general approach Weinstein set out last summer .  At the time he told Outsourcing-pharma.com that Bioclinica would seek bolt-acquisitions in key functionalities that can then be tailored to fit client’s needs.

The idea – further underlined in August - is that by offering packages that include several of technologies, Bioclinica can better integrate its services and retain customers. The so called ‘cross selling approach’ is something the firm shares with rival Medidata.

The plan seems to be working. Last year Bioclinica signed up Amarin – for electronic data capture (EDC), interactive response technology (IRT/IVR/IWR), and clinical trial management (CTMS) serveces - and Isis Pharmaceuticals - whose cholesterol drug Kynamro was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration FDA) earlier this week - said it would expanded its use of the firm’s technologies.

Whether other new customers like Grünenthal and Sanofi – which both opted to use Bioclinica’s On Point EDC platform last year – will adopt some of its technologies remains to be seen.

If the takeover completes – which JLL predicts it will later this quarter - Bioclinica will become a private company, distancing it from major rivals Medidata and Oracle which are both public.

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