ERT to merge with clinical imaging firm Bioclinica

ERT, a clinical services firm with expertise in digital technology is to merge with clinical imaging firm Bioclinica.

The companies said that the combination will strengthen their offering to pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

The transaction will integrate Bioclinica’s expertise in imaging with ERT’s expertise in electronic clinical outcome assessment, cardiac safety, respiratory and wearables.

The combined company will deliver data analytics, insights, business intelligence, virtual patient visits and hybrid technological solutions.

No financial details were disclosed but the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by regulatory agencies. ERT and Bioclinica expect the transaction to close next year.

The acquisition follows the appointment of Joe Eazor as president and CEO of ERT in October, replacing Jim Corrigan who is moving on after seven years in charge.

Eazor said: “As our customers continue to transform their R&D operations, we must continuously deliver a breadth of innovative technology and services.

“Our merger with Bioclinica will allow us to continue to reinvent end-point data collection by delivering higher-fidelity data and more integrated solutions to achieve our customers’ goals for higher effectiveness, greater efficiency, safer trials, and more patient-centric virtual solutions.”

Speaking to pharmaphorum, he said these transformations include a greater focus on how to run strong virtual and remote trials while at the same time delivering a better patient experience.

“People are realising now just how effective remote trials can be – and that they have great benefits for patients in helping them participate in studies.

“I don’t believe we’ll ever completely go back to the way things were; trials will become increasingly virtual over the next few years.”

But Eazor added that the merger was not driven by COVID trends but by the new opportunities open to a combined company.

“Our interest in Bioclinica is in the ability to develop a broader and deeper set of capabilities, with both of us able to work on integrated, consistent solutions in a number of different areas. It’s a strong strategic rationale that goes beyond what’s happening with the pandemic.

“The most exciting aspect is that it will give us sizable scale capabilities to invest in ways we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as two separate companies.”

Joe Eazor will be the CEO of the newly merged company and the management team will be composed of a combination of both ERT and Bioclinica executives.

In June ERT acquired ADPM Wearable Technologies amid a growing interest in using wearable sensors and handheld devices to collect clinical data during the pandemic.

The logic behind that acquisition is to improve data collection in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Ataxia.

Data collection using conventional methods relies on episodic visits making trials extremely expensive.

Using wearables technology such as that developed by ADPM could provide precise motion data and allow companies to use novel clinical endpoints.

2020 has been comparatively quiet for mergers in the clinical services sector as contract research organisations busied themselves supporting research into COVID-19 therapies and vaccines.

Genesis Drug Discovery and Development, a member of the Genesis Biotechnology Group bought California’s Comparative Biosciences in August.


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