KKR buying RPS, planning to merge it with PRA

A month removed from its $1.3 billion agreement to buy PRA, KKR has signed a deal to acquire ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services, planning to merge the two CROs once the transactions close.

KKR isn't disclosing financial details this time, but it expects to take RPS off current owner Warburg Pincus' hands this quarter, fusing the company with its last acquisition and putting PRA CEO Colin Shannon in charge of the merged result. Warburg bought RPS for $227 million back in 2010, just 6 months after the company went public for $100 million.

RPS has long billed itself as a pioneer of "embedded" clinical development, in which its researchers work alongside clients' staffs. Coupled with PRA's expertise in traditional programmatic outsourcing, RPS will help drive growth in Phase I-IV services, wooing clients large and small, Shannon said.

"We are excited about the potential to deliver even greater value to our clients through this combination," Shannon said in a statement. "By bringing together PRA and RPS, we will be able to offer a more comprehensive range of services across all segments of the biopharmaceutical industry through our expanded capabilities, therapeutic expertise and greater geographic presence."

Once the deal's done, RPS CEO Dan Perlman will depart while President Harris Koffer and Executive Vice President Samir Shah will run what will be dubbed PRA's Strategic Solutions Division.

"As a division of PRA, we will continue to operate exactly as we do today, which should enable a seamless integration with absolutely no disruption for our clients and business as usual for our employees," Shah said in a statement.

In March, RPS launched a joint venture with Japan's Asklep to expand its presence in that country's growing drug development market. PRA has made high-profile overtures of its own into Asia, this year joining China's WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) to team up on clinical research there.

RPS has about 4,000 workers across 64 countries, and PRA employs roughly 5,300 people in more than 80 nations.

- read the announcement

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