PRA Health Sciences makes $530M Symphony buy, reports 16% revenue growth in Q2

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PRA Health Sciences will acquire data and analytics company Symphony Health for $530 million in cash up front.

PRA Health Sciences is shelling out $530 million up front to purchase health data and analytics expert Symphony Health, just as it reports double-digit service revenue growth for the 11th quarter consecutively since it went public in late 2014.

Symphony provides insights that span across market prediction, physician prescribing, payer reimbursement and patient treatment patterns. Based in Pennsylvania, Symphony owns what PRA describes as “one of the largest commercial health data assets in the U.S.,” which contains information on over 280 million patients.

“Our use of data has been rising exponentially over the last years, and it became vital that we secure a strong dedicated data supply,” said PRA’s CEO Colin Shannon, during a conference call Tuesday morning. “Additionally, our data platform needs substantial investment to cope with our growth.”

That’s why Symphony stood out for PRA. Its services can not only provide PRA the data its biopharma clients need to get better understanding of the market, but can also help optimize clinical trial recruitment.

Shannon said he sees the acquisition not as a synergistic move, but a complementary business. This means Symphony and its 250 employees will continue to operate under the current leadership—including CEO Neal Bibeau—as a separate business.

Currently privately owned by technology investment firm Symphony Technology Group, Symphony is expected to return over $200 million in revenues from services it provides to 400 active clients that include biopharma companies and government agencies, PRA said in a release.

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The deal is the latest in a series of M&A by CROs as the industry further integrates, and PRA announced it as it reported service revenue of $457.9 million for the second quarter of 2017. The growth of 16.5% at constant exchange rate marks the 11th quarter that the Raleigh, North Carolina-based CRO has achieved double-digit revenue growth since the IPO in November 2014. Its stock price has been on a steady upward trend, from about $20 upon opening of IPO to the current $80.

PRA intends to close the all-cash Symphony transaction in the third quarter. More payments could be made if Symphony beats its financial targets for 2017 and 2018. After that, it will set off to expand Symphony’s global footprint using PRA’s own strong global presence.