KCR – currently owned by US company Kforce – specialises in providing customers with staff skilled in a variety of clinical research-related activities, ranging from project management and biostatistics to data management, regulatory affairs and site monitoring.
Gregg Dearhammer, president of inVentiv Health’s functional service provider (FSP) and staffing business told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: “While KCR does not have the broad resources of a global company, in the US they are considered a well-respected, mid-sized player in the FSP staffing space.”
He added KCR is involved in more than 600 studies across 9,000 sites and that this presence coupled with “their expertise in clinical monitoring is particularly complementary to inVentiv’s existing staffing and FSP services.”
inVentiv plans to take on all KCR employees when the deal closes at the end of the month and – according to Dearhammer – does not anticipate ‘any meaningful redundancies.’
Insourcing vs FSP
Massachusetts, US-based inVentiv has been hot on the acquisition trail since summer 2010 - when it was bought by Thomas H Lee Partners - with Kforce being the sixth takeover the firm has completed in the intervening period behind Star Terre Santié , i3 and Campbell Alliance , PharmaNet and SDI .
Dearhammer acknowledged this and suggested the policy will continue, explaining that the firm “continuously identifies and evaluates an active pipeline of potential transactions that are closely aligned with our strategy to provide best-in-class services across our Clinical, Consulting and Commercial segments to healthcare clients worldwide."
However, while the latest deal fits with inVentiv’s general policy of growth through acquisition, Kforce’s particular offering means the move also fits with the wider industry trend of insourcing – where Pharmas bring third party staff in-house - which some observers say is sweeping the services sector.
This trend was detailed in a recent report by PwC which revealed that nearly 30 per cent of biopharma companies have insourced work that previously would have been outsourced to a third party.
Since then a number of Big Pharmas have started to look at insourcing – most recently GlaxoSmithkline (GSK) which citied efficiency as a key driver for its decision to move some manufacturing work back in-house.
However, not everyone agrees that insourcing – rather than 'traditional' outsourcing and strategic partnerships - is the best option in terms of cost reduction.
For example, speaking at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials (PCT) Congress in Lyon, France last year ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services (RPS) CEO Dan Perlman described an FSP approach as “high level staffing plays” that do not allow Pharmas to reduce costly internal capabilities.