Icon snatches up drug pricing guru PriceSpective

Dublin-based CRO Icon has snatched up PriceSpective, a 9-year-old consulting firm focused on market access, reimbursement and pharmaceutical pricing.

Neither side is disclosing financial terms in what is a pretty intriguing acquisition. But upfront and milestone payments make the deal worth about $50 million, estimates William Blair analyst John Kreger, as quoted by Outsourcing-Pharma.

So what would a CRO want with a consulting firm? Icon bought a similar company--Oxford Outcomes--for around the same price a little more than a year ago, the article notes, so the company is clearly trying to expand its services in the consulting space. But on a broader level, CROs are increasingly boosting their consulting prowess to help biopharmaceutical company clients figure out how to illustrate the value of a drug, as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of a treatment, according to the story.

Both factors are increasingly important for a drug to successfully penetrate most markets. And PriceSpective consults on global pricing, reimbursement and market access strategies, according to the Icon announcement touting the deal. Tim Evans, a Wells Fargo analyst also cited by the Outsourcing-Pharma story, explains that the added consulting services, with a focus on health outcomes and commercialization planning, are increasingly crucial for Phase III trial designs.

In short, what the deal generates comes down to an overused but appropriate word here: synergy. And the 80-employee PriceSpective has strategically placed offices in London, Los Angeles, San Diego, Raleigh and Boston, with headquarters in Philadelphia, so the operation is pretty well placed, to boot. As Big Pharma continues to downsize, CROs appear to be really focused on filling in the gaps.

- read more in Outsourcing-Pharma
- here's the release