Private-equity-infused clinical investigational sites continue to scour America and beyond for acquisitions—seeking scale, diverse therapeutic capability and patient access for CROs and biopharmaceutical sponsors. Now, Headlands Research, a KKR-backed next-generation site organization seeking to profoundly impact the clinical trial landscape, announced it has acquired six clinical investigational sties across the U.S. and Canada. The six research sites span three organizations: Centex Studies, Clinical Research Atlanta and Okanagan Clinical Trials.
Goal: Disrupt the Status Quo
The private-equity backed player seeks to “disrupt the status quo” by embracing and leveraging patient-centric best practices to significantly increase the number of people who take part in trials while exceeding industry standards with superior data quality. They position in their press release that by acquiring these highly regarded and well-established research centers—all possessing long-standing research expertise—offers the organization a material footprint in the site organization landscape.
Headlands Research’s acquisitions include:
- Centex Studies. Centex Studies includes three multi-specialty research centers in Houston and McAllen, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Centex Studies is known for its successful physician partnership model, as well as its adoption and creation of new technology in the site space. The geographic presence of the three sites creates an ideal opportunity for improved diverse and specialty trial participation, specifically in the Hispanic and African-American populations.
- Clinical Research Atlanta. Clinical Research Atlanta is a multi-specialty research group with facilities located in Stockbridge and Griffin, Georgia. Clinical Research Atlanta has a strong reputation for exceptional quality of research and outstanding patient recruitment. The centers are recognized for their expertise in the recruitment of specialty populations, including healthy volunteers. As in the case of Centex Studies, the geographic location of Clinical Research Atlanta allows for improved participation among the underserved African-American population.
- Okanagan Clinical Trials. Located in Kelowna just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Okanagan Clinical Trials is a high-quality, long-standing site addressing Central Nervous System conditions.
The Consolidation Battle Plan
The acquisitions represent the first step in a plan to significantly impact the clinical research site space. The organization will leverage KKR capital to buy more sites with the focus on patient-centricity and data quality—these purchases will be both in the U.S. and abroad. They seek to differentiate by supplying many more patients to eagerly awaiting sponsors—again patient centricity is a core angle.
In offering a glimpse into the site consolidators strategy, KKR Director Dr. Neel Varshney notes, “The clinical research and trial space faces a number of challenges, including a lack of trials that effectively address underserved populations and complex diseases. Headlands Research aims to change this trend.” He continued, “With its priorities firmly focused on high-quality data, faster study start-up and patient retention—not to mention a diverse and growing roster of clinical sites in the U.S. and Canada—Headlands has the ability to deliver access to diverse and specialty populations that too often go overlooked.”
About Headlands Research
Headlands Research was founded on the idea that clinical trial research needs to significantly evolve to better match the current healthcare climate, as well as the real-world needs of patients. Its mission is to profoundly change the clinical process through a platform of best-in-class research facilities that gather high-quality data through increased trial participation while addressing specialty populations that are underserved. Based in San Francisco and backed by KKR, Headlands aims to ensure that high-quality therapeutics are made available to patients who can benefit from them. Additional information about the company is available here.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. The investment in Headlands is being funded through KKR’s Health Care Strategic Growth Fund. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website here.