Parexel eyes the Middle East with its latest CRO buyout

Parexel CEO Josef von Rickenbach

Parexel International ($PRXL) is looking to broaden its presence in the Middle East and North Africa, snapping up Turkish CRO Atlas Medical Services.

Through the deal, Parexel is getting a 35-employee outfit with offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir and relationships across the region. Parexel isn't disclosing a price tag, saying only that its acquisition will fold into the company's existing clinical research services segment. Atlas brought in about $4 million in revenue last year, the company said, and Parexel doesn't expect the buyout to impact its financial guidance.

Despite its small size, Atlas boasts a client roster of more than 28 biopharma outfits including some of the world's largest drugmakers, Parexel said, and absorbing its operations will strengthen the company's presence in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, CEO Josef von Rickenbach said.

"These markets are of increasing importance to our clients who are looking for market access and a broad spectrum of patient populations for clinical trials," von Rickenbach said in a statement. "In addition, Atlas has been a trusted business partner to Parexel for many years, and their infrastructure and staff are already aligned with our processes and operations."

Meanwhile, Parexel is gearing up for its biggest year yet, projecting to make up to $2.2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2015. That would spell 10% annual growth and another double-digit boost for the Boston company, which leapt 12% last year. Parexel has attributed its steady growth to maintaining relationships with Big Pharma but also mounting momentum among small and mid-sized drugmakers.

The company is in the midst of a rebranding effort through which it hopes to better establish itself in the competition between the largest players in an increasingly top-heavy market. The goal is to better define Parexel's disparate offerings as a continuum of services, CEO von Rickenbach has said, and the CRO has retitled its banner eClinical business to bear the company's name.

- read the announcement