The EQT IX fund (EQT Private Equity) and Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Private Equity business have executed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Parexel from Pamplona Capital Management for $8.5bn.

Established in 1982, Parexel is a clinical research organisation that provides support for the development of new medicines.

It offers services to life sciences and biopharmaceutical clients, including decentralised clinical trials, regulatory consulting services, and the use of real-world insights.

Apart from outsourced clinical research services and regulatory and market access, the company delivers strategy consulting services.

Parexel is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina; and Newton, Massachusetts, US. The company has more than 17,000 employees and performs clinical trials in 95 countries.

The company’s global Phase I-IV clinical research programmes integrate consulting capabilities.

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Pamplona Capital Management acquired all outstanding shares of Parexel in 2017. After closing, the company became a privately held organisation.

Parexel CEO Jamie Macdonald said: “Over the past 18 months Parexel has continued its strong growth trajectory delivering on its patients-first focus and accelerating new therapies to patients in need around the world.

“With the market for outsourced clinical research services anticipated to grow at a conservative CAGR of 8% to 9%, our focus remains on advancing and innovating Parexel to meet our customers’ needs across the evolving clinical development landscape.”

The latest deal is expected to fast-track Parexel’s growth by leveraging the company’s worldwide presence, operational expertise and wide healthcare network.

EQT Private Equity partner and Healthcare global co-head Eric Liu said: “We have followed Parexel closely during the past few years and have been impressed by the company’s development and trajectory.

“Our investment in Parexel reflects EQT’s thematic focus on the life sciences industry, as well as our commitment to partner with businesses that have a positive impact on society.”

The acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Evercore was the financial adviser to Parexel while Kirkland & Ellis offered legal counsel.

Goldman Sachs and Jefferies served as financial advisers to EQT and Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided legal counsel.

In April 2021, Parexel partnered with Veeva Systems to accelerate clinical trials through technology and process innovation.