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Clinipace doubles in size after purchase of Paragon

By Natalie Morrison+

25-Sep-2012

Clinipace has bought Californian CRO Paragon Biomedical in a bid to expand its therapeutic expertise.

The acquisition - Clinpace's fourth in under three years  - adds services in the cardiovascular, immunology, infectious diseases, central nervous system (CNS), respiratory, dermatology, and medical device clinical research arenas. It also adds sites in the UK and India.

Together the contract research organisations (CROs) double in size, with 430 staff and over 1,200 clinical research, strategic product development, regulatory, and quality assurance and control (QA/QC) projects.

Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, CEO Jeff Williams said: We’re already a strong oncology firm, and we work in a number of other areas, but we wanted to be stronger in fields such as cardiovascular, CNS and immunology amongst others. That was the number one reason we did this.”

He added that expansion into other therapy areas – previously untouched by either firm – is a “definite possibility,” however he gave no indication what they may be.

Exact financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Growing footprint

The leaders of the alliance now expect revenue growth of up to 27 per cent next year for both firms, hitting between $55- 77m.

Williams believes a lot of the progress will come from Clinipace’s “growing” international business, marking South America, Europe and the US as key regions.

He said that Eastern Europe in particular is a potential boon as it has seen significant client demand. “We would like to have our own resources there,” he told us.

China is also “in everyone’s minds” at the moment, he said, adding that though neither Clinipace nor Paragon have any presence there now, they will venture into the country if the demand is there.

“So long as it’s in the right therapy area, and there is demand, then we’re open to projects anywhere,” Williams added.

Paragon was unavailable for comment on the matter. A spokesperson told us: “We can’t really talk about the acquisition at this time.”

Simple integration

Both firms are now confident Paragon will be integrated easily, thanks to Clinipace’s novel business model.

Clinipace brands itself a “digital” CRO (dCRO), which Williams explained means keeping trial management technology as the base of the business, then “plugging” staff into it, rather than bringing in eClinical software after the business has been established.

He said: “The traditional CRO is based on selling people by the hour and layering the technology on top of that structure. But if you’re not building something from the ground up it’s very hard to take a step backwards, and there is little room for innovation."

He told us that as Paragon are traditional and don’t have a technology platform, the firms simply need to augment their clinical operations groups - or "plug in" the staff by training them to work with the model.  Existing Paragon clients will all receive the “traditional” service they signed up for, but new clients will be brought into the dCRO model.

In a statement, Gena Reed, founder and CEO of Paragon said: “The company cultures and senior leadership teams blend well.”

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