Icon reflects on Firecrest deal, sees Pfizer as likely beneficiary

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Clinical trial

Icon reflects on Firecrest deal, sees Pfizer as likely beneficiary
The acquisition of site optimisation specialist Firecrest is good news for customers including US drug giant Pfizer says Alan Morgan, group president of clinical services at Icon.

Last week’s deal​ will see Firecrest’s range of optimization and training techs offered exclusively as part of Icon’s recently-launched Iconik clinical trial management platform.

Icon will also use the Firecrest technology to make its own site monitoring more efficient according to Morgan, who told Outsourcing-pharma.com the acquisition was motivated by the firms’ track record of collaboration.

Since first engaging with them, we have worked with them on a number of studies and have seen and heard from clients first hand how their technology improves quality and drives efficiencies. Feedback from clients was extremely positive.

Given the length of time it would take for us to develop a similar solution, we felt that it would make better business sense to acquire a company that has excellent technology and also has very strong relationships with leading pharma companies​.”

He added that: “The primary motivation for acquiring Firecrest was to enable ICON to enhance quality through enhanced protocol compliance and drive efficiencies by reducing data queries and errors at sites – both of which will ultimately improve study timelines.

We don’t see the acquisition as being a primary driver for reducing prices; rather it will reduce our sponsors’ study timelines which in turn will reduce their costs.

Big Pharma reach

Firecrest ​claims its technology has been used in over 200 trials by nine of the 10 biggest pharma companies through deals the Irish software firm has with a number of CROs.

This was reiterated by Morgan who cited Icon’s new strategic partner Pfizer​ as an example.

Pfizer was already a client of Firecrest prior to Icon acquiring them, so we anticipate continuing and expanding the client relationship between Firecrest and Pfizer​.”

He went on to say that: “Icon will have exclusive access to Firecrest technology, but of course Firecrest will honour any existing contract with another CRO.

Firecrest has been selected as a core partner by a number of clients, and in those circumstances it is quite possible that for those existing clients Firecrest will work with other CRO partners. Firecrest will not seek new work with other CROs, but will continue to offer stand-alone services to the industry​.”

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