Irish clinical trials company Icon gets €4m in State funding

Dublin-founded, Nasdaq-listed group employs more than 1,000 people in State

Nasdaq-listed clinical trials group Icon has been awarded €4 million in R&D supports by the Irish Government.

The Dublin-founded company, which employs more than 1,000 people in the Republic, is to use the funding to expand patient access to clinical research through the use of technology.

The R&D support will help in the development of tech-enabled systems that provide greater flexibility and reduce the burden felt by clinical trial participants, Icon said.

Icon is a global provider of drug development solutions and services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. It was established in 1990 by Dr John Climax and Dr Ronan Lambe. The company employs close to 38,000 people in 46 countries. It recorded revenues of $2.8 billion (€2.4 billion) in 2020.


Plans are under way for the company to invest in resources such as additional data sources, advanced analytical systems and digitisation, patient-focused mobile technology, and predictive tools that integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Hybrid trials

"We have to accelerate the adoption of decentralised and hybrid clinical trials to meet participants wherever they are – on their mobile devices and in their homes – while also protecting data security, ensuring the integrity of all trial data, and adhering to regulatory requirements," said Icon chief executive Steve Cutler.

The funding will be administered by State agency Enterprise Ireland.

"I'm really happy Government is in a position to invest €4 million in one of Ireland's best known and respected life sciences companies. This funding will go into research and development in digital health technology and data analytics. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of both areas," said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar.

Icon earlier this year announced plans to acquire US company PRA Health Sciences in a $12 billion (€10.2 billion) deal to create the world’s largest contract research organisation.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist