Icon to raise $2bn to help fund major clinical research merger

15 Jun 2021

Image: © kkolosov/Stock.adobe.com

The funding will help secure a deal that could see one of the world’s largest contract research organisations headquartered in Dublin.

Earlier this year, Icon announced its intention to acquire clinical research rival PRA Health Sciences in a $12bn deal.

Now, the Dublin-headquartered pharma group has said it plans to raise more than $2bn through a private offering of senior secured notes to partially fund the deal.

Icon intends to offer $500m of senior secured notes due 2026 and $1.51bn of senior secured notes due 2028.

Founded in Dublin in 1990 by Dr John Climax and Dr Ronan Lambe, Icon has become a major clinical research player on the world stage.

The company is a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.

With offices all over the world, including Germany, the US, Japan, Argentina, Israel and South Africa, the company employs approximately 16,000 people.

In the past year, it conducted one of the largest Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Its $12bn acquisition of US company PRA Health Sciences could see it become one of the largest contract research organisations in the world.

PRA provides outsourced clinical development and data solution services to the biotech and pharma industries. It differentiates itself with mobile and digital platforms that enable trials to be conducted effectively remotely.

Icon’s acquisition will integrate PRA’s mobile and connected health platforms as well as its real-world data and information solutions. The result will be more flexible hybrid trial solutions, with the aim of better meeting clients’ needs.

Announcing the deal earlier this year, Icon CEO Dr Steve Cutler said it would create “a new paradigm” for clinical research.

“Both Icon and PRA have track records of robust growth and performance and we are ready to build on this unrivalled position of strength, utilising the outstanding talent in both organisations.

If the merger is successful, the combined company will be headquartered in Dublin, where Icon already has its HQ in Leopardstown.

The deal is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approval.

Icon intends to use the proceeds from the offering announced this week to make the acquisition, together with cash on hand and borrowings made under proposed new credit facilities.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic