Telerx - Merck & Co's customer services subsidiary - bought pharmacovigilance specialist Sentrx earlier this week, adding the latter’s adverse event monitoring and reporting capabilities to its contract services offering.
Neal McCarthy from investment bank Fairmount Partners – which brokered the takeover – told Outsourcing-pharma.com the move was prompted by Telerx’s desire to offer pharmacovigilance services as well as the cross selling opportunities the merger made possible.
“Sentrx collects information about serious adverse events and helps pharmaceutical companies to track and report these events to the proper regulatory authorities…I think that Telerex was very interested to add this expertise to the portfolio of services it can provide to its many clients.”
He added that the deal – financial terms of which were not made public – fits with the general uptick in demand for post-market monitoring from drugmakers.
“It is critical for pharma to treat adverse events with the highest degree of diligence and care,” McCarthy explained, adding that “Historically they did this internally, but more recently have begun to use outside experts.”
Services sector consolidation?
Whether demand will drive a wave pharmacovigilance-based acquisitions and consolidation in the services sector is not yet clear – as McCarthy points out - the list of leader in the field is short and there are not too many takeover targets – but there are other recent examples.
In February, contract research organisation (CRO) Icon bought the trial services division of Cross Country Healthcare in a takeover that included the latter’s pharmacovigilance services wing Akos. More recently Accelovance's acquisition of Radient Research's CRO division was - in part - motivated by its in field safety monitoring capabilities.
What the high level of drug industry demand does definitely indicate – according to McCarthy – is that drugmakers operating globally face complex regulatory challenges that require considerable expertise.
“Even large pharma companies have a tough time to keep up with all of the regulatory changes particularly when you are located in one continent, manufacturing in another and selling in a third through a distributor, hence the growing need to trust outside experts such as Sentrx.”