Each quarter, ARG CEO Paul Bishop and President Lyle Camblos share their thoughts and responses concerning relevant company and industry issues. This segment’s topic is ARG’s recent acquisition of CCA Clinical Research, a leading European CRO based in London.
In the past when discussing acquisitions, each of you has consistently talked about being deliberate and waiting for the right opportunity. What makes CCA so unique?
Lyle: It is true that we have been looking for the right company, and it turned out the best candidate was a long-time partner. CCA and their founder Ignazio (Di Giovanna) are rock solid, having been in business since 1997. The combination of stability and familiarity allowed us to feel that we were not starting from scratch.
Paul: We share the same market and offer the same values: we both are relationship-driven, understand small to medium-sized biotech, feature flexibility in our problem-solving, and above all insist on quality for our partners. In terms of company culture, it’s great to have that kind of head start.
Then it goes without saying that CCA is the right fit…
Lyle: It does. We have worked with CCA since 2007, and have come to genuinely respect and like each other. And like Paul said, we have important commonalities. We share processes, systems, values, and management styles. Those things are big.
Paul: And overall, each company aspires to reach the same objectives and growth targets. We feel very good about this.
Why is this the right time?
Paul: The key thing to remember is that this is the right time for both companies. Ignazio is excited about the transition, and the CCA team members are ready to grow in their roles here at ARG.
Lyle: Paul is right. Even though we have been ready to get into Europe for a few years, this is the point in time when we are able to pull it all together. We have the correct management structure in place here, and CCA is ready to join us.
Why is this acquisition important for ARG?
Lyle: We have successfully relied on partnerships for reach in the past; now we have official reach in the UK and a gateway into Europe as a whole.
Paul: Lyle is spot on here. There is no substitute for boots on the ground.
How does this transaction allow ARG to achieve its goals?
Paul: This acquisition significantly strengthens our top line on day one. And we are positioned for long-term strength and growth.
Lyle: The bottom line is that we can offer a full suite of services in North America and Europe. We have the opportunity for ARG and CCA to combine into a larger (but not big) CRO that caters to innovative and disruptive companies. That bodes well for our own organizational development.
What do you need to do to foster a successful integration?
Lyle: Integrations are about people getting to know each other. Because we have successfully partnered with CCA for over a decade, we feel strongly that we have been integrating for years.
Paul: It’s true. This integration will be smooth because of our communication and familiarity. We have a transition team in place, and what we are finding time and again going through our checklist is that we are way ahead of schedule based on 10 years of working together.
How do you guys personally feel about all of this?
Lyle: It is wildly exciting, on par with starting the company, hiring our first employees, and securing our first approval.
Paul: The first office outside of the US is a huge milestone for us. We’re thrilled.
What is next for ARG?
Paul: We are examining other companies around the world, trying to find entities that share our core values. We are always looking for the right opportunities.
Lyle: Exactly. We will continue to be deliberate about our next moves. In the end, every decision we make must allow ARG to better manage a growing number of rare disease, oncology, and immunology clinical trials for our partners.
(Photo by Luca Micheli)