Icon’s growth slows and new business falls

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Icon’s net new business fell by 28 per cent in Q1 but the overall picture was better, with operating profits rising by 25 per cent and a US acquisition expanding its Phase I capacity.

Contract research organisations’ (CRO) results have dipped in the current economic environment because of cancellations and reduced business but Icon’s CEO Peter Gray said he was “pleased​” with his company’s performance.

This included a nine per cent increase in revenues to $219.8m (€166m) and a 25 per cent rise in operating income to $26.9m. However, both of these growth rates were considerably lower than last year, most notably for revenues that grew by 48 per cent in Q1 2008.

Further difficulties could arise from the dip in new business, which fell from $369m in 2008 to $265m this year but Icon also managed to cut its debt in half, reducing it to $2.2m over the past three months.

Icon expands US Phase I ops

Icon also acquired a Phase I facility in the US from Qualia Clinical Services, claiming the purchase demonstrated its “confidence in the long term health of the market​”.

The 33,000 sq ft facility in Omaha, Nebraska, US has 100 beds and almost doubles Icon’s total bed capacity in the US. Icon has rehired key clinical operation staff from Qualia to support integration with its existing Phase I units.

Thomas Frey, President of Icon development solutions, said: “This latest acquisition supports our strategy of expanding our Phase I capabilities in the US and brings our total bed capacity there to approximately 225 beds​.

We have acquired an excellent facility and we have put in place an experienced team who will ensure the delivery of quality clinical pharmacology services to clients​.”

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