DaVita grows its in-house CRO with a data-centric merger

Kidney dialysis magnate DaVita HealthCare Partners ($DVA) has merged its two research-minded subsidiaries to create an end-to-end CRO focused on renal trials.

In 2012, when DaVita paid $4.4 billion for HealthCare Partners, it inherited that company's clinical research outfit, which used its parent's many medical offices as trial sites. Separately, DaVita has operated its own CRO, DaVita Clinical Research, which runs kidney-focused clinical trials around the country.

Now, in merging the two operations, the combined company can blend data from DaVita's more than 170,000 dialysis patients and HealthCare Partners' roughly 836,000 customers into an anonymized pool of information, creating a sizable resource that drug and device developers can use to design better trials and treatments, the company said.

Amy Young

"Since 1997, DaVita Clinical Research has been a leader in kidney-related trials, epidemiology and data analytics, resulting in better patient outcomes," Vice President Amy Young said in a statement. "Our clients appreciate the unique understanding of patient populations that a health care provider-based CRO like DCR can deliver."

DaVita has been expanding its CRO business over the past year as part of a companywide effort to diversify its revenue streams. In January, the company partnered with Pacific Pharma Group to break into clinical pharmacology studies, tapping the expertise of a Covance ($CVD) veteran as it reached into early-stage development.

Founded in 1985, DaVita Clinical Research has grown from a single pharmacology site to a sizable specialty CRO. Through expansion and acquisition, the outfit became full-service in 2012, and DaVita's CRO focuses on kidney diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular studies.

- read the announcement