PRA re-brands as it claims to be among top 5 CROs

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

PRA Health Sciences is now at the table with the biggest CROs
PRA Health Sciences is now at the table with the biggest CROs
Following its merger with RPS, as well as a number of other acquisitive moves, CRO PRA will now be known as PRA Health Sciences and will look to continue to establish itself as a top 5 CRO in the world.

PRA Health Sciences CEO Colin Shannon explained to said the company chose a simple re-branding “to make a bigger splash​.”

One of the reasons we did the RPS deal was to branch out​,” Shannon said, noting that the companies did not have much overlap in terms of their clients, and RPS had a greater number of large pharma clients.  

There was virtually no customer overlap – 2% overlap – they were mainly large pharma, and we were biotech​,” Shannon said, referring to RPS and noting that except for the harmonization of some employee benefits, the companies are largely integrated now. “The bulk of the work is done and RPS has embraced the changes​,” he added.

Now that the companies are nearly integrated, PRA Health Sciences is looking to settle into its new status as one of the top CROs, which could lead to more strategic partnerships and dealmaking with sponsors.

We are one of the top 5​” CROs now, Shannon added, noting the company has nearly doubled in size with its recent acquisitions and has about 10,000 employees. “We’re now competing with the top CROs whereas a year and a half ago we never got to there. We’re at the table​,” Shannon said.

In addition to the RPS merger, PRA was purchased by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), moved into Eastern Europe with its purchase of ClinStar​, bought CRI Lifetree​ to augment its Phase I and bioanalytical capabilities, and formed a JV with WuXi​ to push further into the Chinese market.

Shannon offered few details on updates from these acquisitions, though he sounded particularly exuberant about the work PRA has completed with WuXi. He told us that the JV has met all of the agreed-upon principles that were offered at the outset of the collaboration.

And in terms of any new possibilities for M&A for PRA, the company seems to be focusing on the companies it’s already got before finding more. Shannon said PRA Health Sciences is looking to “digest what we’ve got – a lot of people have put in an awful lot of effort to make it happen… but if an opportunity comes, we’ll take a look…couple of small companies to accelerate technology advancements, but other than that there’s nothing at the moment​.”

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