CRO Icon scoops up eClinical firm Firecrest

It's another CRO-eClinical marriage. Contract research giant Icon ($ICLR) said it has acquired Firecrest Clinical, which provides web-based tools for improving clinical trials site performance and management. Financial terms of the deal between the two Ireland-based companies weren't announced in Icon's press release.

The transaction comes amid a growing number of moves among CROs to boost their clinical trial software offerings as the contract research outfits strive to streamline studies. For example, United BioSource last month announced the formation of a new entity called Bracket to focus on providing software for clinical trials. More and more, Big Pharma firms have looked to CROs like Icon to make their clinical development more efficient, as evinced in Pfizer's ($PFE) recent decision to form closer ties with Icon and Parexel ($PRXL) to outsource more drug R&D. And effective use of clinical trials software is one way to make trials run smoothly.

"Delivering consistent, real-time information to sites and a clear path to follow in the conduct of trials not only boosts the quality of trials, it also drives efficiencies and improves study timelines," Icon CEO Peter Gray said. "We have worked with Firecrest on a number of trials and have seen first hand how their technology improves quality through enhanced protocol compliance and drives efficiencies by reducing data queries and errors at sites."

- here's Icon's release