Pfizer today doled out two large strategic partnership agreements, which have become the brass ring for which most CROs medium and large are jockeying.
The chosen CROs are Parexel and Icon, both of which are top-tier revenue producers. The partnerships put both in charge of clinical trial implementation services for Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker. The five-year agreements go into effect June 1 and will be implemented over 18 to 24 months. Their value was not made public.
John Hubbard, senior vice president of worldwide development for Pfizer, and former global president at Icon, said in a release, “This new strategic partnership model is part of a comprehensive program to sharpen our research focus at Pfizer, and creates a more flexible cost base through outsourcing of certain research and development services. We are creating partnerships for activities that can be performed most effectively and efficiently outside of the company.”
Peter Gray, CEO at Icon, said, “Today’s announcement is another significant indicator of Icon’s ability to partner with major companies in helping them transform their drug development model, and validates the investments that we are making to capitalize on the changing market environment.”
Parexel’s partnership with Pfizer will focus on “applying best-practice operational models, supported by a combination of our eClinical solutions and clinical processes, to help Pfizer reduce the time and cost of development,” said Parexel CEO Josef von Rickenbach. The deal is the fourth strategic partnership Parexel has signed, following deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb in June 2010 and GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly the following September.
Sanofi and Eli Lilly have also outsourced clinical development operations to CROs.
Dublin, Ireland-based Icon currently has approximately 7,700 employees, operating from 77 locations in 39 countries.
Headquartered near Boston, Mass., Parexel has 10,350 employees in 71 locations throughout 52 countries. Earlier this month, Parexel said it would restructure its early-stage business, cutting 25% to 30% of its capacity because of disappointing results.