Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Con­tract re­search M&A had a healthy run in re­cent years be­fore re­cent­ly pe­ter­ing out. But with the mar­ket ripe for a big buy­out and the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of de­cen­tral­ized tri­als, Wednes­day saw a tec­ton­ic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will ac­quire PRA Health Sci­ences for $12 bil­lion in a move that will shake up the high­est rungs of a frag­ment­ed mar­ket. The merg­er would com­bine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 rev­enue, ac­cord­ing to Icon, and the merg­er will set the new­co up to be the sec­ond-largest glob­al CRO be­hind on­ly IQVIA.

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