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Averion Sees Fruits of Acquisition

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Southborough, Mass.-based contract research organization (CRO) Averion showed signs that its recent acquisitions and operational changes are paying off. Averion reported that 2007 net service revenue was up an impressive 163% to $34.8 million, due primarily to its acquisition of Swiss-based CRO Hesperion. Averion paid $36.2 million for the company in November. That acquisition doubled the size of Averion’s staff to 400 and expanded its operations into 14 countries.

“With our broader geographic base, expanded client relationships, and added capabilities for managing full-service, large global clinical trials, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the growing trend favoring clinical trial outsourcing,” said Averion’s chief executive officer, Markus Weissbach, M.D., PhD.

And Although Averion’s income from continuing operations was still in the red with a loss from of $3.9 million, it is inching closer to profitability. Its loss is down from $4.6 million in the year prior. The company is getting more efficient as well. Direct expenses during 2007 increased to $20.7 million versus $8.2 million during the prior year; however, those expenses as a percentage of revenues decreased to 59% in 2007 from 62% the year prior.

The company reported a research backlog of $74.7 million last year compared to $35.6 million in 2006. Again, its backlog of business was due to Hesperion’s strong contribution. In October 2007, the company sold its staffing services business to members of that division’s management. That move resulted in a loss from discontinued services of $1.4 million during 2007 compared with $500,000 during the prior year.

Averion went public in July 2006 in a reverse merger with San Diego-based company IT&E International, a regulatory compliance and validation services firm.

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