Medical & Technical Research Associates Inc., a full-service contractresearch organization (CRO), has agreed to merge with two EuropeanCROs.The merger will involve BIOS, of Bagshot, England, and IKP/AKP ofGrunstadt, Germany. MTRA already has been in a working alliancewith the two companies, along with three others in Europe that are notpart of the proposed union.The merger will be accomplished through a stock exchange among thethree privately held companies into a holding company based inLondon, Bob Deininger, MTRA's executive vice president, toldBioWorld. Operations will be conducted out of MTRA's Wellesley,Mass., office. No company will hold a clear majority of stock, althoughMTRA will be the largest shareholder, he said."Our clients are asking for truly global services," Deininger said."They're asking for larger and larger relationships with the contractresearch organization they partner with. A number of clients arelooking for permanent strategic partnerships with CROs."Deininger said the new company will be the seventh or eighth largestfull-service CRO (internationally), based on billings, which would beabout $35 million this year ($17 million for MTRA, $10 million forIKP/AKP and $7 million for BIOS).The strength of BIOS, Deininger said, is in European regulatory affairs,and it has a strong development network. "They understand the processof getting approval in the European Union (EU)."The strength of IKP/AKP is in clinical pharmacology (Phase I) trials,and in Phase II, III and post-approval studies in the Germanic parts ofthe EU, he said.BIOS, founded in 1975, has a staff of 93, with three physicians, andhas an 18-bed clinical pharmacology unit with an analytical laboratory.It also has access to specific volunteer populations, including post-menopausal women and asthma patients. IKP/AKP, founded in 1977,has a staff of 75 with eight physicians and 16 scientists, and has 40beds in its Phase I unit.MTRA, which is 24 years old, has 230 people on staff, but will bedownsizing its clinical pharmacology unit because some of thosefunctions will be carried out in Europe."The fact is that pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies aretransitioning Phase I research to Europe, where human clinical trialsmay be initiated sooner, perhaps saving three months of developmenttime," said Richard Parker, MTRA's president and CEO. "In response,we are both excited about extending all of our services into Europe,and confident that merging with these established companies willbenefit our clients greatly."Deininger said, "We hope to have the merger executed by the end ofthe year," and added that the holding company could go public in theU.S. or Europe in a few years. n
-- Jim Shrine
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