Clinical trials software player agrees to $123M buyout

BioClinica CEO Mark Weinstein

Big news in the land of electronic clinical trials--or eClinical--software. The New York-based private equity player JLL Partners has struck a deal to buy the growing eClinical outfit BioClinica ($BIOC) for $7.25 per share or about $123 million, paying a 23.2% premium on the average closing price of the company's stock for the past 90 days.

Mark Weinstein, the CEO of BioClinica (formerly Bio-Imaging Technologies) since 1998, is expected to stay on as the chief executive of the Newtown, PA-based company after it's taken private. JLL Partners is also pulling the trigger on the purchase of another imaging services provider, CoreLab Partners, which will be combined with BioClinica, which also provides core lab imaging services for the biopharma industry. CoreLab's majority owner, Ampersand Capital Partners, will join JLL as owner of BioClinica.

With its roots in imaging, BioClinica broke into the eClinical business through its 2008 buyout of Phoenix Data Systems, which had developed EDC software for keeping digital records of clinical trial data. The move was controversial and prompted a major investor to call for Weinstein's resignation. Yet BioClinica followed that deal with a string of other buyouts and partnerships to beef up its eClinical business, which competes in the market with both smaller players and larger ones such as Medidata Solutions ($MDSO) and the tech giant Oracle ($ORCL).

BioClinica's share jumped more than 19% to $7.21 per share as of 10 a.m. ET on the back of the news this morning. Weinstein wasn't immediately available this morning to talk with FierceBiotechIT about the deal.

"We are pleased to announce this transaction and look forward to merging our company with CoreLab Partners and working with JLL Partners and Ampersand Capital to continue to expand our business," Weinstein said in a statement. "The combined platform significantly enhances our global scale, scientific expertise, and our prospects for accelerating the pace of innovation for customers. We are also delighted that this transaction comes at a time when our industry is poised for growth in demand for imaging and eClinical solutions."

BioClinica, which has revealed in the past that one of its major customers is the drug giant Pfizer ($PFE), has been investing in its technology infrastructure to support its growth. Pharma players and CROs have leaned on EDC and other software systems from BioClinica and its rivals to aid in automating operations and data management in clinical trials, as the industry seeks ways to cut costs and boost the productivity of drug development.

- here's the release