Icon: What a difference a year makes as sales jump, PRA Health integration begins

Financial earnings increase

Icon had a tough 12 months but is bouncing back in 2021 with returns to growth, new collabs and, oh, that $12 billion deal to snap up a rival company.

For its fourth-quarter and full-year financials, announced in February, Icon saw sales up 4.8% year over year to $760.2 million and also up 8.3% on the third quarter. For the whole year, however, revenue dipped by 0.3% to $2.78 billion, with the second quarter being the biggest culprit for its losses given the pressures of the pandemic.

This had led the CRO to slash costs this time last year, and in the second quarter of 2020 it saw major enrollment delays due to “site closures and movement restrictions” on patients.

But, like the sector as a whole, it clawed its way back quarter by quarter, helped along the way with a boosted collab with long-term partner Pfizer and then, earlier this year, its huge $12 billion buyout of rival CRO PRA Health, which should help boost its fortunes further when it is eventually brought fully into the fold in the summer.

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For now, it’s still doing well: In its first-quarter results, the CRO saw revenue hit $858 million, up 17.9% on a constant currency basis on the year-ago period, with full-year 2021 revenue guidance boosted from a range of $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion to as much as $3.5 billion.

“I am very pleased with the strong start ICON has made to 2021 which builds on our momentum from last year,” said Steve Cutler, Ph.D., CEO at Icon. “Our planning for the acquisition of PRA continues and we remain on track for closing in July.

“We believe our strong new business performance in Q1 demonstrates our customers’ confidence in our continued operational performance and our commitment to deliver enhanced and innovative patient centred solutions. We look forward to the union of two high quality organisations to form the world's leading healthcare intelligence and clinical CRO.”