PRA Health Sciences

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PRA Health Sciences
PRA Health Sciences Inc.
Formerly called
PRA International
Industry Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
Founded Charlottesville, Virginia, United States (1976 (1976))
Headquarters Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Number of locations
80+ countries
Area served
Key people
Colin Shannon (President and CEO)
Number of employees

PRA Health Sciences is a contract research organization with headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. The organization has worked on 100+ drugs marketed across several therapeutic areas and conducted the pivotal or supportive trials that led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or international regulatory approval of 50+ such drugs.[1]


PRA was founded in 1976 as the Anti-Inflammatory Drug Study Group in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Renamed PRA in 1982, it established itself as a data-management Contract Research Organization (CRO). After a number of strategic decisions to enhance its service offerings, the company became PRA Health Sciences in June 2014, incorporating partnerships and acquisitions made throughout 2012 and 2013.

Key dates:

  • 1976: Anti-Inflammatory Drug Study Group formed in Charlottesville, VA[2]
  • 1982: Company established as Pharmaceutical Research Associates Inc. (PRA), a Data Management Contract Research Organization (CRO)[3]
  • 1991: Services extended to Clinical Trial Management and Drug safety. First European office established
  • 1996: Acquired by Carlyle Group and reached 333 employees[4]
  • 1997: Acquired IMTCI in Lenexa, Kansas, USA whose facility included a Phase I unit[5]
  • 1999: Acquired Valorum (UK) with Regulatory and Product Registration teams[6]
  • 2000: Acquired ARCAM, Paris, France.[7] Reached 1,000 employee landmark
  • 2001: Acquired by Genstar Capital[8]
  • 2002: Acquired Staticon in Madrid, Spain and CroMedica[9] to increase CNS expertise and expand its global footprint
  • 2004: IPO made PRA a publicly traded stock on NASDAQ. Acquired Valid-Trio, Moscow, Russia and ClinCare in Russia, Belgium[10]
  • 2005: Acquired GMG BioBusiness Limited in the UK and Regulatory/Clinical Consultants in the USA.[11] Reached 2,500 employee landmark
  • 2006: Acquired Sterling Synergy Systems in Mumbai, India and Pharma Bio research in The Netherlands which formed the basis for the group within PRA now known as Early Development Services[12]
  • 2007: Reacquired by Genstar Capital and returns to being privately held.[13] Acquired Pharmacon in Berlin, Germany.[14] Opened its 25th office and reached 3,300 employees
  • 2008: Moves global HQ to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA[15]
  • 2010: Colin Shannon named CEO.[16] Bioanalytical Lab in Lenexa, Kansas, USA opened[17]
  • 2011: Acquired Kinship Technologies in Chennai, India[18]
  • 2012: Entered into a joint venture with WuXi PharmaTech to offer a broad platform of services in China, Hong Kong and Macau.[19] Opened facilities in Singapore,[20] Utrecht, The Netherlands, Beijing, China and Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2013: Reached 10,000 employee and 70 office landmark. Purchased by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), one of the world's leading Private Equity firms.[21] Acquired ClinStar, a CRO/logistics firm providing services in Russia and Eastern Europe[22] and RPS which later became the Strategic Solutions division of the company.[3] Later in Nov 2013 acquired CRI Lifetree, a specialized research organization focusing on the conduct and design of early stage, patient population studies[23]
  • 2014: Renamed PRA Health Sciences to fully incorporate the companies within the PRA family, (RPS, CRI Lifetree, ClinStar and WuXiPRA). Launched a new website experience.[24] PRA floats on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on November 13, 2014 under the ticker symbol “PRAH”[25]
  • 2015: PRA opened a new bioanalytical laboratory in Assen, the Netherlands[26]
  • 2016: PRA is named Clinical Research Company of the Year at the PharmaTimes USA and International Clinical Researcher of the Year competitions.[27] PRA acquired Nextrials, a San Francisco-based, eClinical software company.[28]
  • 2017: Acquired Symphony Healthcare Solutions [1]

Contribution to clinical development[edit]

PRA Health Sciences (PRA) has worked to develop a variety of compounds, ranging from niche treatments and therapies to blockbuster drugs.

PRA has participated in several Clinical Trials of note such as the Landmark Alzheimer's Prevention Clinical Trial, a collaborative effort involving the Banner Alzheimer's Institute (BAI); Genentech, a member of the Roche Group; the University of Antioquia in Colombia; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).[29]

PRA were instrumental in supporting Gilead Sciences, Inc. with an FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for Sovaldi (Sofosbuvir), which was approved by the FDA in December 2013. In addition, it was given a Notice of Compliance by Health Canada in December 2013, and granted Marketing Authorization by the European Commission in January 2014. Treatment is leading to higher cure rates and shortened, simplified therapy regimens for many Hepatitis C patients.[30]

The organization has completed its 20th first in human trial with biologics. The milestone is the culmination of 600 subjects enrolled in over eight years of first-in-human biologics trials, including directly into patient experience.[31]

In late 2015 PRA announced a collaboration with Alliance for Multispecialty Research (AMR) in an effort to accelerate new vaccines to market.[32]


PRA Health Sciences was named "Best CRO in Asia" at the BioPharma Asia Industry Awards in 2013, 2015 and 2017.[33]

In the 2016 PharmaTimes US Clinical Researcher of the Year competition it was named "Clinical Company of the Year", as well achieving awards in several other categories.[34]

The organization was awarded "International Clinical Company of the Year" at the PharmaTimes International Clinical Researcher of the Year contest in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Several employees were also recognized in individual categories.[35][36][37]

In March 2016, PRA was awarded a Top Workplaces accolade by[38] In the same month the company was also recognized in the Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) Awards in the "Best Contract Research Organization", receiving a "highly commended" designation.[39]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Expertise". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Biotech breakthrough: Industry emerging in Central Va". The Daily Progress. The Daily Progress. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "History". PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "PRA returns to the fold with US$790 million merger agreement". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Registration Statement". NASDAQ. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "PRA International Acquires Valorum-UK". PR Newswire. PR Newswire. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "PRA International Expand European Capabilities With Acquisition of Arcam, a French CRO". PR Newswire. PR Newswire. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Genstar Capital Acquires PRA International". Genstar Capital. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "PRA International, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Cromedica International". Genstar Capital. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Registration Statement". NASDAQ. 
  11. ^ "PRA International Acquires RxCCI and GMG to Enhance Global Regulatory and Product Development Consulting Capabilities". PRA Newswire. PRA Newswire. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "PRA Acquisition of Pharma Bio-Research May Lead to New Drug Development Labs in US". BioPharm International. BioPharm International. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "PRA Prepares to Go Public with Confidential SEC Filing". Outsourcing Pharma. Outsourcing Pharma. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "PRA expands German footprint with Berlin relocation". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "PRA International to move HQ to N.C". Washington Business Journal. Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Colin Shannon". Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "PRA unveils new US bioanalytical lab at AAPS". Outsourcing Pharma. Outsourcing Pharma. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "PRA International acquires Kinship Technologies". Centerwatch. Centerwatch. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "WuXi and PRA form Chinese joint venture". PM Live. PM Live. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "PRA Opens Singapore Office". Contract Pharma. Contract Pharma. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "KKR to buy clinical trials firm PRA International". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "PRA says Clinstar Takeover Offers Quicker and Cheaper Patient Enrollment". Outsourcing Pharma. Outsourcing Pharma. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "Press Release: PRA Acquires CRI Lifetree". PRA via PRnewswire. 13 November 2013. 
  24. ^ "PRA ADVANCES TO BECOME PRA HEALTH SCIENCES". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "PRA Health Sciences opens new Bioanalytical Laboratory in the Netherlands". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  27. ^ "2016 Winners". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  28. ^ "KeyBanc Expecting PRA Health Sciences To Beat Estimates, Upgrades To Overweight". Benzinga. Benzinga. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "Banner Alzheimer's Institute launching $100M clinical trial". Phoenix Business Journal. Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "Gilead's Sovaldi® Demonstrates Efficacy and Safety Among Chronic Hepatitis C Patients with Advanced Liver Disease". Fierce Biotech. Fierce Biotech. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "PRA Complete 20th First in Human Biologics Trial". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "PRA Health Sciences Collaborates with AMR to Accelerate Vaccine Development". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  33. ^ "PRA Voted "Best CRO" in Asia". Evaluate. PR Newswire. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  34. ^ "US Clinical Researcher of the Year". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  35. ^ "International Clinical Researcher of the Year Awards- 2014 Winners". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "PRA is Named International Clinical Company of the Year". PRA Health Sciences. PRA Health Sciences. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "2016 Winners". PharmaTimes. PharmaTimes. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  38. ^ "Top Workplaces 2016 - Large Companies". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  39. ^ "VIE Awards 2016 Nominees". World Vaccine Partnerships. World Vaccine Partnerships. Retrieved 28 June 2016.