With the acquisition of fellow contract research organisation (CRO) Kendle International under its belt, INC Research is setting out its stall as a top-tier player with some 5,000 employees spanning six continents and experience in more than 100 countries.

“Biopharmaceutical companies of all sizes are relying on outsourcing partners earlier in the clinical trials process,” said James Ogle, who was chief executive officer (CEO) of the ‘old’ INC Research and retains that position in the combined company. 

“This transaction has enhanced our value proposition to global drug developers and given us a broader range of local operations with global oversight, allowing us to maintain high standards and quality results,” Ogle added. INC claims 43 of the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies among its client base.

Senior management

The merged company will continue to operate as INC Research, with a couple of Kendle executives joining the senior management team – which also includes some recent additions to the INC ranks. 

The new chief operating officer, Jamie Macdonald, had only just taken up that position at Kendle. He was appointed senior vice president and chief operating officer in mid-February, but with effect from 1 May 2011, moving to Kendle from Quintiles. The merger agreement with INC was announced on 4 May.

David Gill, chief financial officer of the consolidated INC Research, joined the company from Transenterix in March while Neil MacAllister, executive vice president, corporate and business development for INC Research as well as president of AVOS Consulting, came on board when INC acquired Avos in January.

Mark Roseman, executive vice president, business development and marketing, is another Kendle appointee, having joined the company in August 2010 from i3 Research.

Global scale

INC paid US$15.25 in cash for Kendle’s outstanding shares, a premium of 60.5% over the US-based CRO’s closing share price before the deal was announced and of 51.3% over the 30-trading day average of Kendle’s closing price.

Since the merger was announced, INC has also acquired Australian CRO Trident Clinical Research, now incorporated as a wholly owned affiliate with operations in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia, as well as Auckland in New Zealand and Mumbai in India.

With its enhanced global scale, expanded therapeutic expertise and “new levels of operational excellence”, INC is now “more strongly positioned to deliver clinical trials of all sizes across the drug development spectrum”, the company said.

Therapeutic capabilities

The company’s therapeutic capabilities extend to leading areas of R&D investment such as cardiovascular diseases, central nervous system conditions, endocrinology, oncology, infectious diseases and respiratory conditions. Together, these accounted for around two thirds of the total US drug development pipeline in 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan data.

INC also says it is well placed to “deliver the next generation” of strategic partnerships.

“We have gained economies of scale to deliver clinical development programmes more cost effectively,” the company commented. “We also are evolving our proven Trusted Process methodology to include more cutting-edge methods and tools to reduce variability and increase predictability in trial outcomes across all phases of clinical development.”

According to INC, it is already among the pioneers of functional service partnerships (FSPs), which aim to streamline many of the repeated tasks associated with the clinical trial process, saving time and costs while improving predictability and consistency of delivery across all study protocols. “Today, INC Research’s FSP model touches more than 150 protocols every day,” it noted.

The Kendle deal marks the ninth successful acquisition and integration undertaken by INC Research over the last 10 years. INC itself came under new ownership last August when private equity firm

Avista Capital Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan agreed to acquire the company from an investor group led by Crosspoint Venture Partners and Adams

Street Partners.

INC has deployed a joint integration team that has already has begun amalgamating fully its customers, employees and services with those of Kendle.