Terms of the cash-and-stock deal were undisclosed. James Baker, Ockham’s CEO, said Nexus comes with a stable book of business and an institutional investment partner. Twelve-year-old Nexus has 120 employees across Scotland, Poland, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium and Spain, in addition to Canada and the U.S.
Ockham had 175 employees before the acquisition and operated primarily in the U.S., with satellite offices in India and the U.K.
Nexus founder Clare Wareing will stay as chief scientific officer. For now, Nexus Oncology will be known as Nexus Oncology, an Ockham Company. But Baker said by yearend Ockham will make a final decision on the combined entity’s name.
Ockham launched in 1986 as ASG, a specialty staffing company focusing primarily on IT. Over time, it began working with pharma companies, providing CRAs, data managers, statistical programmers and biostatisticians, and eventually offering functional service provider (FSP) services to companies working on cancer drugs. In 2009, said Baker, the company acquired five-year-old Ockham, a “distressed” full-service CRO with 60 employees. The company stayed with the market segment Ockham had been serving: emerging biotech and pharma companies seeking help with phase I and II trials.
Ockham and Nexus both compete with other small, oncology-focused CROs including Novella, Aptiv and Premier, said Baker. “The small trials we work on require a certain amount of leadership, and the large guys can’t do that as efficiently as we do,” he said. “As a result, we’ve created this nice niche where, at the end of the day, we’ve become known as one of the top five early-stage oncology CROs.”
Ockham also plans to use the acquisition to expand its FSP into clinical, which is Nexus’ specialty.