ICON plc, the global provider of outsourced development services based in Ireland, has bolstered its Late Phase and Outcomes Research offering by acquiring UK-headquartered health outcomes consultancy Oxford Outcomes for an undisclosed sum.

An international operation with offices in Bethesda and Morristown, US as well as Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, Oxford Outcomes provides specialist services in the fields of patient reported outcomes (PRO), health economics, epidemiology, and translation and linguistic validation.

With the acquisition and integration of Oxford Outcomes, Elizabeth Thiele, formerly ICON’s executive vice president of business development, has been appointed president of a specialised Late Phase & Outcomes Research unit at the Irish company.

Oxford Outcomes was originally set up in 1997, specialising in PRO research and translation/linguistic validation. In 2004 it formed a strategic partnership with Occam Research and Consulting of Vancouver to promote jointly PRO and health economics services. In 2004 the two companies formally merged under the Oxford Outcomes name as a health economics, PRO and epidemiology consultancy.

With the latest deal, Oxford Outcomes and ICON can together offer a broader suite of services in Late Phase and Outcomes research, the former noted. These include non-interventional observational research; disease and product registries; post-approval safety surveillance studies; Phase IV clinical trials; epidemiological studies; patient-reported outcomes/quality-of-life research; health economic evaluations; and scientific and medical communications.

 “The biopharmaceutical industry and regulators are more than ever before using post-marketing studies to demonstrate efficacy and safety, as well as demonstrating the economic value of products,” commented ICON’s chief executive officer, Peter Gray. “Oxford Outcomes has grown to become a leader in its field and brings to ICON a wealth of expertise in the fields of health economics, outcomes research and epidemiology and a strong reputation for excellent client service.”

Blending the two companies’ knowledge and expertise “will lead to powerful, market-leading client solutions, both in the post-marketing arena and earlier in the development process”, added Paul Quarterman, group managing director of Oxford Outcomes.

According to Thiele, Oxford Outcomes has built up a “blue chip” client base, including “the world’s top-tier pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies”.