Canadian clinical research network Centricity Research has acquired US-based Lucas Research, adding five clinical research sites to its portfolio across North America.

This is the fifth acquisition since Centricity Research’s inception in 2021. It brings the number of sites under the company’s ownership up to more than 35 with a catchment area of approximately 8.5 million people and 155 investigators.

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The North Carolina company specialises in researching immunology, inflammation, diabetes, weight loss and other endocrine diseases.

Lucas Research co-founder Jeannie Lucas said: “We will continue to offer our patients world-class care, but now with the extensive resources of an international team to ensure that we are delivering the top advances in care.”

It also has more than 250 clinical trials to its name in therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, endocrine and metabolic, gastroenterology, infectious disease, respiratory and women’s health.

It follows after Centricity Research was able to merge with the Ohio and Arizona-centred Aventiv Research in June 2022, specialising in Phase I-IV pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostic clinical trials.

Centricity Research was formed in 2021 as a merger between three companies, namely the Georgia-based research management agency IACT Health, research site network LMC Manna, and True North Clinical Research.

Centricity Research chief corporate development officer Jeff Kingsley said: “We’re thrilled to combine forces with the phenomenal team at Lucas Research, which will help strengthen our Phase I clinical trial capabilities, geographic reach, and operational expertise as we forge ahead with our mission to advance medical knowledge and develop better medications.”

The acquisition comes amid a somewhat shrinking market for clinical research organisations (CROs), with research by GlobalData finding that 2021 saw 50 completed mergers and acquisitions in the space, an additional 21 deals over 2020’s 29 mergers and acquisitions among CROs and research networks.

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.

The rate at which mergers and acquisitions have been occurring across the clinical trials industry is cause for concern among some sponsors, with the issue taking centre stage at the 11th annual Outsourcing Clinical Trials conference in October of this year, where representatives discussed how large-scale networks comprising of a significant number of sites and staff can lead to problems.