PRA Health Sciences acquires Symphony Health Solutions, scrip and prescriber data provider

Leading CRO looks to better trial recruitment, outcomes research


In a deal expected to close in this quarter, PRA Health Sciences, a contract research organization (CRO) that grossed over $1.8 billion in FY2016, is acquiring Symphony Health Solutions, of Conshohocken, PA, for $530 million. Symphony Health is currently held by a private company, Symphony Technology Group, which acquired the assets (then called Source Healthcare Analytics) from Wolters Kluwer in 2012, and combined it with other recent acquisitions to create Symphony Health Solutions. (Going farther back in time, Wolters Kluwer’s business had been known as NDC Health.)

Symphony Health’s main asset is a data service called Integrated Dataverse, a collection of claims data and prescriber information for 280 million patients and 1.8 million prescribers in the US. In an analyst’s briefing announcing quarterly results, PRA CEO Colin Shannon noted that “Symphony Health had recently revamped their IT infrastructure that is very scalable, and being on one platform gives them the agility and nimbleness to provide customized data solutions.”

Shannon also noted that to compete in today’s CRO market, PRA realized that “it [has become] vital that we secured a strong, dedicated data supply.” In this regard, the action draws a parallel with a key CRO competitor, Quintiles, and a key prescriber and patient data provider, IMS Health; those two companies merged into QuintilesIMS in 2016. Yet another relevant action was the 2014 acquisition of the CRO, Covance, by LabCorp; the latter is a major provider of diagnostic testing for healthcare providers. All three of these combinations are striving to build a strong basis in real-world data and outcomes to provide insights for, among other things, value-based contracts that pharma companies are entering into with payers.

“Symphony Health will also provide us with rich data insights that will allow us to customize our clinical studies,” concluded Shannon, “to be as unique as the patients who they are designed around. By creatively harnessing the power of our technology and data assets, we are redefining the clinical development process for a more patient-centric future.”