Ireland-based ICON has agreed to acquire PRA Health Sciences, a contract research organisation, in a cash and stock transaction valued at around $12bn.

The total consideration comprises $80 in cash and transfer of 0.4125 shares of ICON stock and represents a nearly 30% premium to PRA’s closing price as of 23 February 2021.

The company is planning to fund the cash consideration through a combination of cash on hand and fully committed debt financing from Citi, subject to a financing condition.

Upon completion of the transaction, PRA shareholders will own around 34% of the shares of the combined company and ICON shareholders will own around 66%.

ICON CEO Steve Cutler and ICON CFO Brendan Brennan will lead the Ireland-based combined company, continuing in their current positions.

Ciaran Murray will be appointed as the chairman of the board of directors.

Cutler said: “The combined company will create a new paradigm for accelerating clinical research and bringing new medicines and devices to market.

“Both ICON and PRA have track records of robust growth and performance and we are ready to build on this unrivalled position of strength, utilising the outstanding talent in both organisations.

“With broader and deeper operational scale combined with innovative technology and real-world data solutions, we will enable all customers to reduce their development time and cost.”

PRA chairman and CEO Colin Shannon will be appointed as a board member after the closing of the transaction, along with an additional board member from PRA.

The transaction is expected to benefit biopharma and medical device customers through combined service offerings, geographic footprint, therapeutic expertise, and capabilities.

It combines PRA’s mobile and connected health platforms and real-world data solutions with ICON’s Accellacare site network, home health services and wearables expertise.

Shannon said: “I joined PRA 13 years ago to help build a company that would make a difference in the world and transform the way we developed new medicines.

“The way we do it now takes far too long and costs far too much. Critically ill patients can’t wait for cures. Underserved populations can’t wait for access. Every day counts. COVID-19 created a platform for change that we cannot ignore.

“The pandemic accelerated the adoption of mobile health technologies and healthcare intelligence tools – tools that PRA helped develop – at an unprecedented rate.

“The union of PRA and ICON will create an organisation that has the people, data and technology to bring those cures to patients faster and more efficiently than ever before. We are thrilled to be joining with ICON, a company with a similar culture and values.”