CROs Simbec Research, Orion merge
Simbec Research, a specialist CRO in early stage clinical development, and Orion, a specialist CRO in late stage clinical development, have merged. Following closing, the group will be known as Simbec-Orion Group, and both the Simbec and Orion brands will continue in their respective fields.
The merger has created a full-service international CRO with capabilities in both early stage and late stage clinical development experience in oncology and rare and orphan diseases. The group, with combined revenues of approximately $42.5 million, employs 250 staff and has operations across Europe, Australia and the U.S., together with capabilities in multiple other territories. Simbec-Orion will maintain its headquarters in the U.K. in South Wales.
Simbec-Orion will offer its current 65 large and mid-cap pharmaceutical and biotech clients a complete service offering from first-in-human exploratory clinical pharmacology studies, through phase II and phase III studies. Currently, the group has approximately 90 clinical trials running. In addition, the group offers phase IV post-authorization studies for marketing, observational and safety studies (PASS). These are complemented by in-house dedicated central laboratory facilities (bioanalytics and pathology) to interpret samples from all clinical trials conducted in-house, as well as providing support services to its clients for additional samples and to smaller CROs without an in-house capability.
Simbec-Orion can offer comprehensive services in regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance (both clinical and post-marketing), medical affairs and central pharmacy, all serviced by an in-house capability. The merger was completed through the provision of $21.3 million of funds raised from the Welsh Arthurian Life Sciences Fund and HSBC Bank West and Wales corporate team, which provided debt finance in this leveraged transaction.
It is the board's and the funders' intention to pursue a buy and build strategy to invest in existing operations, to drive organic growth and to rapidly pursue further acquisitions to expand its geographic reach, service offering and therapeutic areas of clinical excellence.
Ronald Openshaw, CEO, from Lucia Capital, and Dr. Fabrice Chartier, new chief operating officer, previously director of scientific affairs of Orion, will join the board of director. The board is completed by its existing directors professor Trevor Jones, non-executive chairman; Howard Jenkins, managing director; Dr. Trevor Tanner, chief scientific officer; and professor Sir Christopher Evans, non-executive director. Dr. Alan Irvine, CEO Orion Clinical Services, has agreed to assume the role of group chief medical officer.