Piramal Healthcare is spending $635 million to acquire US healthcare information provider Decision Resources Group from Providence Equity Partners.

DRG, which is based in Massachusetts, has 290 analysts on its books and counts 48 of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies as its customers. The data specialist has forecast revenues of $160 million for 2012 and has enjoyed 20% annual growth over the past five years.

Ajay Piramal, chairman of the Mumbai-headquartered company, said that the global healthcare industry "is facing several challenges including rising research costs, lower drug approval rates, mounting regulatory pressures and increasingly complex reimbursement models". As such, "the need for specialist information is critical and the demand is growing".

He added that DRG's portfolio of products "is widely regarded as the gold standard of information", claiming that Piramal's "longstanding reputation and relationships with global pharma companies, our knowledge of emerging markets as well as our track record of successful acquisitions [will] continue to grow further DRG's leadership position in the healthcare information and analytics industry".

Piramal says that since selling its domestic formulations business to Abbott Laboratories in May 2010 for $3.80 billion, the firm "has embarked on a strategy to acquire global growth businesses with sustainable returns". Piramal acquired BioSyntech, a Canadian medical device company, for $3.8 million in June 2010, and last month acquired assets from Bayer's R&D portfolio, including rights to the investigational Alzheimer's imaging agent florbetaben.