Icon is buying Aptiv with a focus on adaptive trials

CRO giant Icon ($ICLR) has agreed to trade $143.5 million for Aptiv Solutions, looking to complement its own technology in complex trial design and expand its presence in Japan.

Under the cash deal, Icon will take Aptiv off the hands of current owners Halifax Group, SV Life Sciences and Comvest Partners, integrating the Reston, VA, CRO into its growing operation.

Aptiv has largely made its name assisting drug and device developers with planning and executing adaptive clinical trials, which allow sponsors to make data-driven decisions midstudy. The company's breadwinning platform is AddPlan, software that allows for the design, simulation and analysis of adaptive trials. Aptiv said its client roster includes the FDA and EMA in addition to pharma and med tech companies.

On the more traditional CRO side, Aptiv also operates Niphix, a Japan-headquartered contract research outfit with a focus on oncology, and the parent company said it has a long resume of managing medical device trials on its own.

"Our unique technology and expertise in integrated design and execution of adaptive trials, our strength in medical device development and our strong position in oncology in Japan are key areas of differentiation," Aptiv CEO Pat Donnelly said in a statement. "Icon's excellence in execution, geographic reach and shared focus on innovation will position the combined entity as the go-to service provider for design and execution of adaptive trials for drug, diagnostic and medical device companies in a fast-growing market."

Icon has been deepening its offerings in adaptive trials over the past year, unveiling service platforms that allow sponsors to detect safety issues, keep tabs on sites, and track and visualize efficacy trends all in real time. Meanwhile, risk-based trial monitoring has continued to win favor from Big Pharma and regulators alike, a boon to large CROs that can afford the technology's upfront cost--including Icon, Quintiles ($Q) and PRA.

- read the announcement