Quintiles boosts early phase capabilities with Advion acquisition

Quintiles‘ M&A activity continues as the company announced it will acquire clinical research organization Advion BioServices — Quintiles’ third deal in the last week.

Advion provides bioanalytical lab services that help pharmaceutical companies understand how a drug performs in the body. A definitive agreement to acquire the Ithaca, New York-based CRO was signed today. Financial terms between the two privately held companies were not disclosed, but Quintiles expects the deal to close this quarter. When it does, Advion will become Advion Bioanalytical Labs, a subsidiary of Durham, North Carolina-based Quintiles.

Drug analysis provided by Advion includes pharmacokinetics (PK), the study of what the body does to a drug, as well as pharmacodynamics (PD), the study of what the drug does to the body. This analysis gives pharmaceutical companies early insight into a drug, allowing them to make decisions on how to proceed with its development much earlier in the process. Thomas Wollman, senior vice president of Quintiles Global Laboratories, said in a statement that this analysis helps reduce the risk of failure in later, more expensive clinical trials. The high price tag of late-stage failures has prompted the industry to pursue more lab testing in earlier phases.


Advion BioSciences was founded in 1993 based on the work of company co-founder Jack Henion at Cornell University. The company’s investors include Skyline Ventures, Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund, Polaris Venture Partners and Soros Private Equity Partners. Advion counts all of the major pharmaceutical companies as customers. It also does work for government life sciences agencies and academic institutions. Advion BioServices, the bioanalytical lab division of Advion BioSciences, employs more than 180 employees, most of them at its bioanalytical lab in Ithaca. The unit also has smaller locations: an immunoassay lab in Manassas, Virginia and a discovery and metabolism lab in Indianapolis, Indiana. Henion and co-founder Tom Kurz, and others from the management team will remain with the Advion Bioanalytical Labs following the transaction. Advion BioSciences will become Advion Inc., focused on developing microfluidic chemistry products for the life sciences industry.

Quintiles is already the largest CRO company in the industry with about $3 billion in annual revenue. While the Advion acquisition bolsters Quintiles earlier stage drug research capabilities, deals announced last week added to the company’s capabilities in later stages of drug testing. Quintiles last week completed a deal to acquire Outcome Sciences, a CRO that provides late-stage and post-marketing observational research on drugs. Quintiles also acquired pharmaceutical marketing and commercialization firm VCG & Associates and its subsidiary VCG Bio.

Quintiles spokesman Phil Bridges said that the timing of the three announcements is coincidental. Deals take months to consummate. But he acknowledges that the company has had an aggressive acquisition strategy this year.

“Each company of the three companies, VCG, Outcome Sciences and now Advion, was identified as best in class and fills a specific need for Quintiles’ customers,” he said.

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