US-based contract research organisation Omnicare Clinical Research has followed the lead of a number of other CROs in an uncertain climate for the sector by staking its future on private-equity investment.

The company, which has broken with its US parent, pharmacy services provider Omnicare, Inc, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by Nautic Partners, a private equity firm based in Providence, Rhode Island.

Omnicare had committed to divesting its CRO Services business in the first quarter of 2011, citing unfavourable market conditions in the sector and having decided the contract research business was no longer a sound strategic fit with its portfolio of assets.

The clinical research arm said the deal with Nautic not only formalised its split from Omnicare, Inc but “achieves the company’s most visible step in a comprehensive two-year plan to accelerate Omnicare CR into the future”.

A new era

The additional support from Nautic will enable Omnicare Clinical Research to meet its customer needs “even more quickly”, the company noted. “This marks a new era for our business that will provide us [with] the ability to more efficiently make vital, strategic decisions, placing us in control of our own destiny,” commented president and chief executive officer Dr James Pusey.

“The group in the best position to benefit from this reorganisation is our current and future customer base,” he added. “With our renewed strength, Omnicare CR will be able to deliver an even higher level of customer service while maintaining the teams currently in place who support our customers on a day-to-day basis.”

According to Pusey, the interest in Omnicare CR has been “intense”. Over the last five years, the CRO has successfully completed more than 1,500 studies worldwide involving over 337,000 patients.

Under its new ownership, Omnicare CR’s senior leadership team expects to accelerate growth in specialized business units including early- and late-phase development, Phase II/III trials, medical devices, technical services and pharmaceutics.

Nautic’s managing director, Chris Crosby, who headed up the deal along with Omnicare CR’s leadership team, said his company would “fully support Omnicare CR on a strategic level and with additional capital for growth”.