Parexel moves to buy a pharma consulting firm

Parexel CEO Josef von Rickenbach

CRO Parexel International ($PRXL) is buying a 120-employee consulting firm headquartered in Boston, focusing on market access and commercialization.

The company signed an agreement to acquire Health Advances, a company founded in 1992 that counts roughly half of the world's 25 biggest drugmakers among its clients, according to Parexel. Health Advances' services include portfolio planning, market assessment and M&A advice, the company said, employing scientists and businesspeople in Boston, San Francisco and Switzerland.

"Health Advances will expand and strengthen our capabilities to meet the growing market demand for strategic portfolio- and product-level commercialization consulting," Parexel CEO Josef von Rickenbach said in a statement. "Clients will be able to engage with a single, global provider to fulfill all of their commercialization strategy and execution needs."

Consulting has long been Parexel's smallest business, accounting for about 10% of its revenue. In Parexel's fiscal 2015, which ended June 30, the company's consulting arm slipped 6% to $216 million.

In October, the company reduced its outlook for fiscal 2016, reducing its revenue target by about 2% at midpoint to around $2.14 billion amid sliding profits. Parexel is in the process of shedding 850 jobs with the goal saving between $20 million and $30 million a year starting in 2016.

- read the statement