Quintiles Transnational Corp. has added two more companies to itsnetwork of contract research facilities with purchases of a Frenchgroup and a San Diego firm in deals worth a combined $19.4 million.

Quintiles, of Morrisville, N.C., purchased Paris-based BenefitInternational S.A. for $16 million in cash and stock and bought SanDiego Clinical Research Associates (SDCRA) in a stock swap valuedat $3.4 million.

The two acquisitions are among six expansions and mergersconducted by Quintiles since the beginning of 1995, representing thegreatest growth spurt since the company was founded in 1982.

In a report to shareholders during the first quarter of 1995, Chairmanand CEO Dennis Gillings said, "The company has grown more in thisquarter from a geographic perspective than in any other single quarterin its history."

In addition to the Benefit International and SDCRA purchases,Quintiles this year acquired a pharmaceutical and biotechnologyproduct development plant in Scotland and opened new offices inItaly, Germany and Bethesda, Md.

Quintiles now has 20 divisions in 11 countries. In addition to the U.S.and Canada, the company has facilities in Europe, Japan andAustralia.

Quintiles is among the six top contract research organizations (CRO)in the U.S. The others are: Besselaar in Philadelphia, a subsidiary ofCorning Pharmaceutical Services; Pharmaco-LSR, of Autsin, Texas,a subsidiary of Applied Bioscience International; ParexelInternational Corp., of Waltham, Mass.; ClinTrials Research Inc., ofNashville, Tenn.; and IBAH Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa.

Sara Creagh, Quintiles executive vice president, said pharmaceuticaland biotechnology companies are relying more on CROs for productdevelopment and regulatory expertise to conserve resources.

Customers, she added, include both start-up and establishedbiotechnology firms.

"Biotechnology companies are an interesting market for us," Creaghsaid. "More and more biotech companies are looking to us for[preclinical and clinical] development of their products so they canspend more time on finding new medicines."

Another advantage, she said, is that global CROs can conduct clinicaldrug development simultaneously in countries around the world.

"Fifteen years ago when CROs were not multinational, thepharmaceutical companies that wanted to develop products in othercountries had to develop an infrastructure in each country," she said.

With CROs, Creagh observed, biotechnology companies not only cansave the expense of building research staffs and facilities, but theyalso can avoid licensing their products to big pharmaceuticalcorporations for international development.

In 1993, 20 percent, or $12.3 million, of Quintiles' $61.7 million inrevenues came from biotechnology companies. Revenues frombiotech firms jumped 32 percent last year to $16.2 million, 18percent of Quintiles' total 1994 revenues of $90 million.

In the Benefit acquisition, Quintiles agreed to pay $4.3 million incash and 280,000 shares. Benefit, which has offices in Germany, Italyand Canada, recorded net revenues in 1994 of $5 million and netincome of more than $530,000.

The SDCRA purchase was accomplished with a stock swap in whichQuintiles issued 70,000 shares and options for another 13,000 shares.SDCRA reported 1994 revenues of $4.6 million and net income of$264,000.

Quintiles went public in April 1994 with an initial offering of 2million shares at $19.50. It now has 9.6 million shares outstanding,excluding shares to be issued in the Benefit merger. The company'sstock (NASDQ:QTRN) closed Friday at $41.50, down 75 cents. n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.