Novella buys Prologue to strengthen oncology services

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Contract research organization Clinical trial

US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Novella Clinical has acquired Prologue Research to enhance its offering of oncology clinical trial services.

The acquisition continues the period of expansion that began with the OSI Pharmaceuticals deal earlier this year. Buying Prologue strengthens Novella’s position in the oncology sector, a growth market which is already the company’s single largest therapeutic area.

Prologue is focused solely on oncology drug development and this was a “key factor​” motivating the acquisition, a Novella spokesperson told Outsourcing-Pharma. To deliver their combined capabilities in this area to clients Novella is establishing an oncology “Center of Excellence​”.

Establishing this unit is an acknowledgement of the experience and expertise that is needed for oncology drug development. Novella believes the unit will help it meet the sector’s challenging criteria by improving client support and helping attract and develop oncology expertise.


Prologue employs 60 people and operates an office in Columbus, Ohio, US. From this site Prologue provides a range of services from protocol development through to clinical study report and submission support.

The spokesperson said the acquisition is “very synergistic​” and​Novella “has long term plans to keep and grow the Columbus office​”. Regarding keeping the Prologue name, the spokesperson said clients recognise the firm’s success and this will be important in any branding decisions.

Novella has experience of integrating acquisitions and will apply this to Prologue. The spokesperson said Novella will take a methodical approach to evaluating the companies’ processes and platforms and select best practices from both organisations.

Client portfolios

A coincidental but welcome aspect of the deal is the lack of overlap between the companies’ client portfolios. Both companies focus on biotechs and larger companies seeking therapeutic expertise but have different clients in their portfolios.

The spokesperson said that these firms “tend to be underserved by larger CROs whose business model forces them to prioritise larger accounts and projects​”. In contrast, Novella and Prologue focus on niche therapeutic expertise allows them to offer a tailored service to small clients.

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