PRA upgrades its Dutch R&D hub with eyes on bioanalytics

CRO PRA Health Sciences ($PRAH) upsized one of its European outposts, investing in bioanalytical services to bolster its clinical research operations in the region.

The company's new lab is 25% larger than its predecessor, with 33,000 square feet of space devoted to small- and large-molecule testing. Located in Assen, the Netherlands, the new facility is devoted to bioanalytical tests and is situated near PRA's Phase I clinics in Groningen and Zuidlaren. The idea, the company said, is to streamline the various processes required to run adaptive clinical trials.

The upgraded Dutch operation is a sister lab to PRA's bioanalytical headquarters in Lenexa, KS, which also sits alongside clinical development facilities to smooth the process of early R&D.

PRA's latest move comes amid a push to expand around the globe. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to add about 250 jobs over the next few years as it completes a new $4 million project in Pennsylvania, and PRA is in the process of recruiting clinical research associates around the country as it looks to take a larger share of the CRO market.

Since going public last year, PRA has been working to raise its profile among the world's largest contract drug developers. Last year, the company banked about $1.3 billion in revenue, representing 52% growth over 2013, and the company is forecasting a roughly 10% boost in 2015.

The current PRA came to be thanks to private equity giant KKR ($KKR), which bought the CRO for $1.3 billion in 2013. A few months later, KKR paid an undisclosed sum for ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services and acquired CRI Lifetree, merging the three to create a major contender.

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