In the midst of cuts, Parexel signs new research deal

By Ben Adams

CRO giant Parexel ($PRXL) has inked a new pact with the Optum Life Sciences unit of the nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group ($UNH), to help lower costs in postapproval studies.

Financial details were not disclosed, but it comes slap bang in the middle of Parexel's plan to cut 850 jobs across its global businesses, which aims to save the company about $30 million to $40 million by June.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company blamed "headwinds" for the decision made last summer as it looks to restructure--but this does not appear to have put off the CRO's dealmaking strategy.

In its latest partnership, Parexel said it will use Optum's clinical data from electronic health records and analytics alongside its own research capabilities to help reduce ongoing research costs for new medicines once they have been approved.

Joshua Schultz, corporate VP and worldwide head of Parexel Access, explained: "The pressures to control healthcare costs mean drug developers are looking for ways to create efficiencies and cost-savings in drug development. Working with Optum Life Sciences, Parexel will be able to further advance the clinical research process, helping clients more efficiently develop and evaluate drugs, reduce the cost of drug development and improve patient care."

Optum, the healthcare technology wing of UnitedHealth, has seen healthy sales in the past year, with revenues jumping 70% in Q4 to $21.9 billion.

Parexel also announced a separate agreement this week to acquire consulting firm Health Advances as it looks to expand its consulting side of the business.

- read the statement

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