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Imperial acquires D. Anderson, adds patient recruitment to clinical trial support services

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The purchase of Dallas-based recruitment powerhouse D. Anderson & Co. by clinical trial support firm Imperial of Grand Rapids, Mich., is complete.

Steve Swanson, vice president and chief operating officer of Imperial, explained that D. Anderson will function as the recruiting arm of 45-year-old Imperial, which provides recruitment materials design, print production, translation services, non-drug supplies and, more recently, e-clinical support to the life sciences industry.

Swanson said clients were asking Imperial to get into the recruitment space. “This is the direct result of sponsors and CROs requesting that we provide added support in the area of recruitment,” he explained. “We feel the acquisition of D. Anderson provides the additional bandwidth to be able to serve key clients, allowing them to look to Imperial as a single, continuous source of support from protocol to study close in the areas where we provide services.”

D. Anderson, which started 19 years ago as Rheumatology Research International, is one of the largest recruitment companies in the industry. The firm also does strategic site selection, project management, creative services and clinical staff training. D. Anderson’s international business has grown exponentially over the past three years and now represents 63 percent of sales. Clients include large and small companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, device and site sectors in the U.S., Europe and 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

The company is led by Diana L. Anderson, a well-known figure in the clinical trials industry. She was not available for comment.

Imperial began as a specialty printing company, printing business forms and checks. In the 1970s, it entered the clinical research space. Now it handles more than 50,000 shipments of supplies and printed materials each year to investigator sites in about 80 countries. Swanson said the company has been global for about two decades, but just in the last five years has doubled its international presence.

This is Imperial’s first acquisition; all previous growth has been organic. Swanson said more such acquisitions are expected, as the D. Anderson buy is part of an overall strategy to round out Imperial’s offerings. However, he wouldn’t say what other parts of the industry Imperial is interested in entering or how soon more acquisitions might be announced.

Imperial has about 130 employees and additionally works with about 350 independent contractors. D Anderson has about 20 employees, said Swanson.

Swanson said the timing for the D. Anderson acquisition was right, and is part of an industry consolidation trend. “The rapid evolution in the clinical research space as it applies to patient recruitment is going to create new alliances between organizations to serve those in need. I believe all of our business models are being evaluated in light of the changing needs of the market.”

In addition to its Michigan headquarters, Imperial also has offices in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom.

 — Suz Redfearn

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