After a year of dealmaking, PRA settles in with a new identity

A year removed from the $1.3 billion deal that made it a top-5 CRO, PRA has integrated its various acquisitions and is rebranding itself as a sprawling global drug development resourcer.

PRA set the beginning of its transformation 18 months ago, when it formed a China-focused joint venture with WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), dubbed, naturally, WuXi PRA. Months later, the CRO bought eastern European CRO ClinStar to tap the expanding market for clinical research in that region.

But the biggest change came last summer, when private equity heavyweight KKR agreed to pick up PRA for $1.3 billion. A month later, KKR signed a deal to pay an undisclosed sum for ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services and merge its two acquisitions. By year's end, the company had acquired CRI Lifetree to bolster its CRO conglomerate's Phase I efforts, completing a buy-and-merge plan that created what it said is the world's fourth-largest pharma contractor.

Now, with all those deals in the rear view, PRA has ditched "International" and tacked "Health Sciences" onto the end of its moniker, moving forward with 10,000 employees in more than 80 countries and a client roster of the world's largest drugmakers.

"The expansion of our global presence, the growth in our breadth of services, and the deepening of our capabilities we initiated over the last year-and-a-half enable us to better serve our clients," CEO Colin Shannon said in a statement. "This change to our name reflects our historical roots as a scientifically rich company, the breadth and depth of our solutions, and most importantly, our dedication to working with sponsors to bring new treatments to market that will positively impact the lives of patients and their families."

- read the statement