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Global Acquisitions Heat Up

Monday, April 27, 2009

Three companies—Phase Forward, Chiltern International and ChemDiv—are the latest clinical trial companies to complete global acquisitions.

eClinical company Phase Forward acquired Waban Software, a Cambridge, Mass.-based clinical data analysis and reporting company with operations in Mumbai, India; UK-based contract research organization (CRO) Chiltern acquired Vigiun, a CRO in São Paulo, Brazil; and San Diego, Calif.-based ChemDiv (a contract research discovery and development organization) purchased Russian CRO Prudentas.

Phase Forward purchased Waban for $14 million in cash to meet a “growing demand from life sciences companies to streamline the link between data management and biostatistics activities,” according to Phase Forward chairman and CEO Bob Weiler.

Waban, now the Waban Software Group within Phase Forward, generated approximately $4 million in revenue and broke even during the full year 2008, according to a Phase Forward release. Phase Forward’s Waltham, Mass., headquarters will become the local headquarters for Waban, which has 81 employees worldwide. Current Waban president Himanshu Oberoi, Ph.D., will become vice president, Waban Software Group, Phase Forward.

Phase Forward’s full-year 2008 GAAP revenues were $170.2 million, and as of December 31, 2008, the company had 718 employees, according to Phase Forward’s 2008 annual report.

Chiltern International acquired Vigiun for an undisclosed amount. Chiltern began operating in Latin America a year ago in Argentina, but the Vigiun deal will strengthen the company’s presence in the region, said John Vann, Chiltern’s executive vice president, Americas. Chiltern now has offices in Brazil, Argentina, India, the UK and the United States.

Vigiun specializes in infectious disease, oncology and respiratory and was founded in 1999 by Eduardo Forleo, M.D., and Elisa Halker. Forleo will stay on as Chiltern’s country manager for Brazil and medical director for Latin America, and Halker will serve as director of clinical operations for Brazil.

“This is an exciting time to become a part of Chiltern. Our business has grown to the point that it makes sense to join forces with a global CRO whose mission and values align with ours. I look forward to contributing in very positive ways to the company’s ongoing and future success,” Forleo said in a company statement.

Chiltern had sales of $33.2 million in 2008 and has 255 employees, according to Dun and Bradstreet.

In another recent acquisition, ChemDiv purchased Russian CRO Prudentas for an undisclosed sum, and will continue to operate the company under the Prudentas name as a ChemDiv Group company.

The Prudentas acquisition comes in response to ChemDiv’s clients’ growing interest in conducting clinical trials, according to a ChemDiv statement. The two companies had previously worked together, and Prudentas had established itself as an “experienced, professional and reliable CRO collaborator,” said the company release.

“Our decision to make this investment capitalizes on the growing trend of conducting clinical trials in Eastern Europe; based on the availability of naive patient populations, rapid and efficient trial recruitment and high data quality across a broad range of therapeutic indications,” said ChemDiv president and CEO Nikolay Savchuk. “Prudentas will help us bring unique levels of clinical development productivity to pharma and biotech partners through risk mitigation, cost- and time-savings. This acquisition further strengthens and expands our global presence specifically in the Eastern European and Eurasian markets and responds to growing customer demand for comprehensive R&D outsourcing.”

ChemDiv had sales of $56.4 million in 2008 and has 400 employees, according to Dun and Bradstreet.

The acquisition was completed through ChemDiv’s ChemRar High-Tech Center, a biopharmaceutical complex housing life science R&D organizations in Moscow, Russia. The companies within the Center discover, develop and commercialize drugs for partners in Russia and worldwide, according to a company description.

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