Clinipace Worldwide is strengthening its European presence and positioning itself as a “truly global digital contract research organisation” (dCRO) with its second acquisition this year and its third in the last 18 months.

The US-based company, which boosted its regulatory and strategic development expertise by snapping up Regulus Pharmaceutical Consulting at the beginning of March, has announced a definitive merger agreement under which it acquires all of the outstanding shares of privately held European CRO PFC Pharma Focus and its subsidiaries. No financial terms were disclosed.

Founded in 1992 and based in Zurich, Switzerland, with offices in Germany (Munich), Israel (Tel Aviv) and India (New Dehli), PFC provides drug and medical device development as well as regulatory consulting services.

European headquarters

The acquired company will maintain its current base in Zurich, operating as the European headquarters of Clinipace Worldwide. Kurt Pfister, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of PFC Pharma, will serve as CEO of the European operations while Kathryn Voegeli, PFC co-founder and chief operating officer (COO), remains as COO of the European set-up.

For the moment, the Swiss company will also retain the PFC Pharma Focus name, operating as a division of Clinipace. By the end of 2011, though, it will drop the PFC name and be known simply as Clinipace Worldwide.

Clinipace will maintain its global headquarters in Research Triangle Park, US, together with additional domestic operations in Overland Park, Kansas, and Boulder, Colorado, and South American offices in Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

Functional aspects of both companies’ operations will be integrated over the next 6-12 months. The merger gives Clinipace a total staff quotient of more than 150 employees, contractors and consultants, which the company plans to build on. “As projects and the business warrants, we will continue to hire in all locations during 2011,” it said.

Truly global

Together, Clinipace and PFC constitute “a truly global dCRO with centralised North American, South American and European hubs for strategic drug and medical device product development, clinical operations, data management, regulatory affairs, and GxP/CMC (Good Practice/chemistry, manufacturing and controls) quality assurance”, the new owner commented.

Chairman and CEO Jeff Williams said Clinipace now had “the right global footprint and the right mix of global therapeutic expertise, strategic product development assets and operational capabilities to uniquely meet the needs of our clients”.

Staying competitive in today’s clinical research environment calls, among other things, for “strong multinational scale and differentiation”, Clinipace noted. “Bringing Clinipace and PFC together allows both firms to get to this multinational scale more quickly than either firm could independently”.

The company also sees itself as strongly differentiated through its dCRO value proposition, which offers better control over clinical trial timelines and resources, enhanced project visibility, reduced costs and improved risk mitigation.

According to Clinipace, the company more than doubled its revenues in 2010 versus 2009 and has seen them expand by more than 800% since 2008. “This tremendous growth further validated our need to scale to a multinational level much more quickly,” it commented.