Pharmaceutical firm Icon buys Firecrest Clinical for undisclosed sum


ICON, THE Dublin-listed pharmaceutical company, has acquired Limerick clinical trials company Firecrest Clinical for an undisclosed sum.

Firecrest’s 60 staff, including management, will join Icon, and will continue to be based at the company’s Limerick office.

Firecrest was founded in 2001. Krysna, a company controlled by Limerick pharmacist Gerard Ryan, is a major shareholder in the company, according to the latest annual return. The founders and senior management, including chief executive Gary Hughes, are the other main shareholders.

The company provides technological solutions for clinical trials, designed to improve clinical trial performance. Its services are used by nine out of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies.

According to its most recent accounts, the company posted a loss of €725,000, in 2009. Notes to the accounts state that the directors “recognise the need for further capital investment before trade revenues can fully sustain operations.” Subsequent to the year end, the company successfully raised €1.5 million in equity finance, the accounts state.

Icon plc was founded in Dublin in 1990 by Dr John Climax and Dr Ronan Lambe. The company, which has a secondary listing on the esm market, now employs 7,800 people in 39 countries, including just over 600 at its headquarters in Sandyford in Dublin.

In January it announced the acquisition of British pharmaceutical research firm Oxford Outcomes.

Latest results for the company show that it delivered income from operations of $16 million in the first three months of the year before one-off restructuring charges, compared to $26.8 million in the same period in 2010.

It said it expected to return to growth in the second half of this year after reporting a 5 per cent rise in net revenue for the first quarter.

Gary Hughes, chief executive and co-founder of Firecrest said the deal will enable the company to continue to grow and continue to develop new technologies.

“We also see real synergies between both companies in terms of technology vision.”