Clinical Investigator Site Roll Ups Continue—Research Site Space Competition Heats Up

Clinical Investigator Site Roll Ups Continue—Research Site Space Competition Heats Up

CenExel Clinical Research, Inc. (CenExel) was formed based on the merger of Salt Lake City, Utah-based JBR Clinical Research (specializing in analgesia research and vaccine testing) and ACMR, an Atlanta-based psychiatric research facility. CenExel now has united four top U.S. clinical research facilities to offer new clinical investigational site services to reduce time and cost for commercial drug sponsors. This alliance is in response to growing competition and consolidation among clinical research sites fueled by growing private equity capital flows.

Who is CenExel?

The merger of JBR Clinical Research in Salt Lake City (Jean Brown Associates) and ACMR of Atlanta, Georgia. JBR is partially owned by private equity group Webster Capital. JBR is a clinical investigator site with regional focus based in Salt Lake City and ACMR is large research center/site in Atlanta, Georgia. This group came together in November 2018 when Jean Brown acquired ACMR with support of investment bankers Edgemont Partners and Webster private equity capital.

What is the CenExel Center of Excellence?

It represents a number of research sites in Utah, California, Georgia, and Maryland. CenExel promotes that it includes accomplished clinical opinion leaders and experienced staff for high quality clinical study execution.

Who are the CenExel Participants?

CenExel reports that each one of the above is “the most experienced and trusted research facilities in their respective fields” including:

  • Post-operative pain
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Chronic disease management
  • Asian pharmacokinetic bridging studies
  • Psychiatric illnesses and others

What is the Focus of CenExcel?

By uniting four of the most experienced clinical research sites in the country, they seek to help sponsors improve the design and execution of Phase I-IV trials, including Phase I studies in patient populations to help industry sponsors improve the time and cost of new therapy development for better patient care.

Is CenExcel responding to growing research site competition out in the market?

Yes. Private equity is pouring into research sites directly—financing strategic growth and in some cases role-up-type strategies across the United States. CenExel is incorporating other research sites to offer larger geographic footprints and more therapeutic area expertise so as to keep and remain competitive.

What is CenExel’s Strategy to Grow and Compete?

For organic growth, CenExcel will seek partnerships, alliances and potentially acquisitions. For non-organic growth, they have hired boutique investment bankers Edgemont Partners to identify and undertake strategic mergers & acquisitions when and where it makes sense. Edgemont Partners are perhaps the leading bankers when it comes to research site M&A.

What is CenExel’s Differentiation?

Sponsor’s will need to drill into this question as the market is experiencing unparalleled consolidation with private equity coming into the research site space. The CenExel positioning seems to focus on expertise (center of excellence) and some key therapeutic areas, such as central nervous system. They are also banking on careful research coverage, having sites in key regions including:

  • California (Pacific Coast)
  • Utah (Intermountain West)
  • Georgia (South)
  • Maryland (Mid-Atlantic Coast)

In the press release, they highlight some key prominent clinical investigators as well. This group doesn’t have the coverage that some of the other consolidated research site networks bring to market but CenExel’s reach nationwide is substantial. TrialSite News will monitor these emerging competitive role-ups carefully.