Simbec buys its way into late-stage R&D with Orion deal

Welsh CRO Simbec Research is expanding beyond its focus on early-phase studies, buying up Orion Clinical Services in a move the company says will make it a full-service organization.

The roughly $21.3 million deal will create a combined entity with Phase I-IV capabilities, 250 employees around the world and nearly $43 million in annual revenue, the companies said. The two will do business as Simbec-Orion, take up the former company's Welsh headquarters while maintaining operations across Europe, Australia and the U.S.

Together, Simbec-Orion has a client roster of 65 large- and mid-cap pharma and biotech companies, and the group has about 90 working studies around the world. The combined company has plans to expand from there, promising to "rapidly pursue further acquisitions" on the hunt for more revenue sources.

"Simbec is proud of its 30-year history of excellence in early-stage clinical development," Chairman Trevor Jones said in a statement. "We are delighted to complete the merger with Orion, which takes our Welsh-headquartered company onto an international stage and expands its capability into late-stage clinical development."

The deal follows Simbec's efforts to strike out on its own, as the CRO used an investment from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund to acquire itself from Canada's Altasciences Group last year.

The Welsh Arthurian Life Sciences Fund, backed by biotech entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans, pitched in to help Simbec buy Orion, and Evans will serve as non-executive board director for the combined company.

- read the announcement

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