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inVentiv completes i3 acquisition

By Gareth MacDonald+

14-Jun-2011
Last updated on 21-Jun-2011 at 17:53 GMT

Acquisition hungry CRO inVentiv Health has completed the purchase of i3, positioning it for the next stage of its reorganisation plan.

The takeover enables inVentiv to combine its clinical operations with those of i3 and soon-to-be acquired PharmaNet into a unit with a 6,000 strong workforce and sites in Asia, Latin America and central and Eastern Europe.

i3, which was formerly part of the United Health Group, provides clinical trial management, research and logistics services through its three units: i3 Research; i3 Statprobe; and i3 Pharma Resourcing.

inVentiv, which was unable to respond to Outsourcing-Pharma.com’s questions ahead of publication, is a privately owned contract research organisation (CRO) and does not disclose financial information.

However Ingenix, the United Health unit that used to operate i3, said the divestiture would generate around $400m in revenue when plans for the deal were first announced earlier this year.

Somerset, New Jersey, US-based Ingenix, which has since been renamed OptumInsight as part of United’s Optum health services business, also said that i3 CEO Glenn Bilawsky would stay on as head of the company under inVentiv's ownership.

Reorganisation and consolidation

Completion of the i3 deal comes a few months after inVentiv bought management consulting, market research and educational services provider Campbell Alliance.

At the time inVentiv said i3, Campbell and French group Star Terre Sante, which it bought in September 2010, were part of a plan to reorganise its operations into separate clinical, consulting and commercial divisions.

inVentiv’s recent M&A efforts continue the much discussed wave of consolidation sweeping the contract research sector at present with INC’s move for Kendle and Clinipace’s bid for PFC Pharma Focus being just two other recent examples.

Much of the coverage has focused on the role of private equity owners with the prevailing wisdom being that investors see buying sprees as a way of making the CRO assets they own more attractive to buyers in the future .

This must certainly be a factor in the string of acquisitions inVentiv has undertaken since it was bought by Thomas H Lee Partners last August.

However, according to inVentiv CEO Paul Meister, such deals also reflect current pharmaceutical industry demand for flexible CRO providers and larger strategic partners.

"As pharmaceutical companies continue to seek enhanced flexibility and lower fixed costs, demand for best-in-class clinical outsourcing services has never been greater. As evidenced by i3 and the recently announced PharmaNet transaction, inVentiv is moving quickly to seize this opportunity by establishing itself as a leading global provider of CRO services.

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