Dublin-based clinical trials group ICON is set to acquire rival contract research organisation (CRO) PRA Health Sciences in a deal worth approximately $12bn.

The deal will see the two global organisations join together to create a major clinical trial provider to pharma companies.

In a statement, ICON said that the merger will see biopharma and medical device customers benefit from a broader service offering and geographic footprint, as well as deeper therapeutic expertise, expansive healthcare technology innovation and functional talent and capabilities.

The combined company will offer both PRA’s mobile and connected health platforms, real world data and information solution and ICON’s Accellacare site network, home health services and wearable expertise.

It will be headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with ICON’s current chief executive officer Steve Cutler to serve as CEO of the merged company.

“The combined company will create a new paradigm for accelerating clinical research and bringing new medicines and devices to market. Both ICON and PRA have track records of robust growth and performance and we are ready to build on this unrivalled position of strength, utilising the outstanding talent in both organisations,” said Cutler.

“We will be the leading provider of de-centralised and hybrid trial solutions through the integration of our data capabilities, health platforms and Accellacare site network,” he added.