Contract drug research firm Parexel International explores sale

Contract drug research firm Parexel International Corp is exploring a sale and has hired investment bankers to sound out potential buyers, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Massachusetts-based Parexel closed at $73.97 yesterday, giving it a market value of 3.84 billion.

Parexel has reached out to private equity firms and others to gauge interest, and a potential sale is expected to fetch upward of $4 billion the report said.

Parexel has received interest from a group of activist investors, including Corvex Management which already holds a large stake in the company.

Founded by Josef von Rickenbach in 1983, Parexel is a biopharmaceutical services company, providing clinical research, medical marketing, consulting, informatics and advanced technology products and serves the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries worldwide.

The company operates through three segments - Clinical Research Services, Parexel Consulting and Medical Marketing, and Perceptive.

The Clinical Research Services segment offers clinical trials management and biostatistics, data management, and clinical pharmacology, as well as related medical advisory and investigator site services. It provides these services in cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases, neurology, allergy/immunology, endocrinology/metabolism, gastroenterology, obstetrics / gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics, psychiatry, and transplantation areas.

The Parexel Consulting and Medical Marketing segment offers drug development, regulatory, manufacturing compliance, business process consulting, staffing solutions, and marketing expertise consultation to the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device industries in the US, Europe, and Asia.

The Perceptive segment offers a portfolio of products and services that include medical imaging services, interactive voice response systems, clinical trials management systems, Web-based portals, systems integration, and patient diary applications.

The Nasdaq-listed company employs over 2,000 people and has annual sales of over $2 billion.