Contract research organization (CRO) ICON is not iconic yet, but it would like to be. By the time a new drug hits the market, it has passed through a series of clinical trials to demonstrate its safety and effectiveness; guiding drugs through that process is what ICON does best. The company provides drugmakers and medical device companies around the world with a broad range of services for their product candidates' clinical trials. ICON designs studies and recruits investigators; manages and analyzes trial data; writes reports and other documents; and assists with regulatory filings. Spanning the full development cycle, it also helps with preclinical drug development and post-approval safety monitoring.
ICON has operations in more than 80 locations in about 40 countries around the world. The company operates in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, Ukraine, and the US.
In FY 2012 ICON reported a 5% rise in total revenues thanks to an increase in its clinical research segment revenues by 4.5% and its central laboratory business revenues by 12.1% and by revenues from the acquisition of Oxford Outcomes Limited and Firecrest Clinical Limited ($29.7 million). However, the company experienced a 74% slump in net income due to an increase in selling, general, and administrative expenses, higher depreciation and amortization expenses and interest expenses and provision for income taxes, offset by some non-recurring tax related provisions.
Through both organic growth and acquisitions, the company has formed itself into a global single-source provider of clinical services from early to late-stage drug development, including laboratory testing and research staffing services. Its offerings are available on a stand-alone basis or as a full-service solution. And, unlike some other contract research organizations, ICON doesn't limit itself to any one specific therapeutic area. The company aims to help its clients reduce their development costs and speed up the R&D process to bring drugs to market sooner.
ICON has vigorously expanded its global presence to take advantage of trends toward seeking regulatory approval for a drug in multiple countries simultaneously, and it is continuing to add international capabilities in high-growth regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. To expand its CRO business in the Asia/Pacific region, in 2012 ICON acquired BeijingWits Medical Consulting, which operates research labs across China, including locations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
The company has also steadily widened the types of services it can offer through acquisitions, expanding into areas such as medical imaging clinical trial capabilities and early-stage testing facilities. It expanded its data services when it acquired pricing strategy consulting firm PriceSpective in 2012.
Its 2011 purchase of Oxford Outcomes boosted its back-end services, including late phase and patient reported outcome research conducted in the UK and US. It also expanded its ability to increase site performance and quality in 2011 by purchasing Firecrest Clinical, a provider of technology solutions that allow for accurate study information, creation of training manuals, and case report forms, and protocol information. Clinical site behavior can then be tracked to make sure training is understood, procedures are being followed, and timelines and study parameters are being met.