Fisher Scientific International, best known for supplying laboratory equipment and services, has made a further investment in its clinical research business with the purchase of Clintrak Pharmaceutical Services for $125 million in cash.

Clintrak runs a clinical trial printing service, including labels, and operates a supply chain management business for clinical trials via its Acculogix subsidiary and had 2005 revenues of around $31 million. Fisher is buying the business from a group of investors led by private equity firm Bear growth Capital Partners.

Fisher said the purchase would bolster its biopharma services business, which includes clinical trial materials (CTM), logistics, analytical testing and bio-specimen management services, and adds expertise in the area of complex clinical-trial labelling services. The acquisition is expected to close early in the second quarter.

Clintrak’s services include single panel label and booklet label design and production, with the latter specifically designed to serve the needs of organisations running global, multi-lingual clinical trials.

Fisher’s acquisition comes on the tail of a series of other purchases in the clinical arena, and indeed a much broader wave of consolidation sweeping the pharmaceutical outsourcing sector. Last year, it snapped up biological specimen and CTM company McKesson BioServices, along with pharmaceutical testing specialist Lancaster Laboratories and drug discovery firm Cellomics, for a combined consideration of around $250 million.

As a result, Fisher Clinical, which has an unusual business model in that it offers both clinical packaging and distribution services and laboratory testing to complement clinical trials, saw its revenues lifted to more than $300 million a year.