The market for contract research organizations (CROs) is hot in 2016. Fourteen deals have been announced so far this year, compared with five in all of 2015, 11 in 2014 and eight in 2013.
The latest deal was announced on August 22, as JLL Partners and Water Street Healthcare Partners exited their investment in BioClinica, Inc. and the UK-based private equity firm Cinven stepped in, for an undisclosed price. The original investment for the global clinical trial management company, then trading under the NASDAQ ticker symbol BIOC, was announced on January 30, 2013, for $123 million (1.6x revenue and 11.8x EBITDA).
That deal included the acquisition of medical imaging company CoreLab Partners, Inc. for an undisclosed price. BioClinica was merged with CoreLab, and the acquisitions began.
In 2014, BioClinica merged with CCBR-SYNARC, which provided centralized neuroscience and musculoskeletal medical imaging services, and was conveniently owned by JLL Partners and Water Street. Its second deal that year was for Blueprint Clinical, Inc., which monitored potential risk in clinical trials.
Two more transactions in 2015 added MediciGroup, Inc., a privately held global patient recruitment company, and Synowledge, a specialized pharma-covigilence and IT services provider.
Just a month before Cinven’s announcement that it was acquiring BioClinica, the target announced its own acquisition of Compass Research, LLC, a Florida-based clinical research site network with direct access to a number of specialized populations in neurodegnerative disorders. That deal solidified BioClinica’s position as a global research network with investigator sites in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Under Cinven, there’s more to come, for sure.