Is the market for contract research organizations on the rise again? After a slow year for CRO transactions, the new deal by Syneos Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNH) might signal a new turn in direction. Syneos Health, a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization, announced last week it was acquiring Synteract Inc. from Amulet Capital Partners for $400 million.

Synteract is a leading CRO that supports biotech and pharma companies across all phases of drug development. Synteract’s 700 employees across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa have supported more than 4,000 Phase 1-4 clinical trials across 26,000 sites in more than 60 countries. Amulet acquired Synteract in May 2016 for an undisclosed sum. The pair announced three accretive acquisitions, Cu-Tech, KinderPharm and ClinData, doubling Synteract’s EBITDA.

The transaction provides significant revenue synergy opportunities, as Syneos Health brings scale and new capabilities to Synteract’s unique customer base. Synteract will maintain its brand. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020.

The last deal for a CRO came in mid-September, when CATO SMS, a portfolio company of Water Street Healthcare Partners, acquired Array Biostatistics for an undisclosed sum. Array Biostatistics is a full-service biostatistical and statistical programming CRO for the biopharmaceutical industry. So far this year, roughly 8% of all deals in the Other Services sector has been for CROs, a drop from 15% in 2019, according to search results in the Deal Database.