Drugmaker Piramal Healthcare has agreed to buy a US-based healthcare data provider for Rs 3,440 crore ($635 million) to boost research and development, the company said on Wednesday, a month after it acquired the new molecules division of Germany's Bayer's.
Mumbai-based Piramal has been looking to expand its R&D portfolio after it sold its formulations business to US-based Abbott Laboratories for $3.72 billion in 2010.
The company aims to close the acquisition of Decision Resources Group (DRG), based in Burlington, Massachusetts, by the end of June 30. The unit, with a team of about 300 analysts, is expected to bring in revenues of $160 million in 2012.
Piramal is trying to focus on grass-root research and high-value patents and shift away from making copycat drugs, said Siddhant Khandekar, analyst at ICICI Direct.
"The deal suggests Piramal does not want to exit the pharmaceuticals sector."
"Although the healthcare information industry size looks promising, I am not sure how Piramal can actually utilise this opportunity," he said.
The global healthcare information industry is valued about $5.7 billion and tough regulatory challenges in R&D are expected to boost demand for researched data on existing as well as new molecules, Piramal said in a statement.
DRG, which provides web-enabled information using proprietary database to global healthcare companies for their R&D projects, is growing 20% a year and counts 48 of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies as clients, it said.
"Global healthcare industry is facing several challenges like rising research costs, lower drug approval rates and mounting regulatory pressures," Chairman Ajay Piramal said in a statement.
"The need for specialist information is critical and the demand is growing."
Shares in Piramal Healthcare, valued $1.37 billion, rose 1.1% to Rs 434.35 by 0453 GMT, in a weak Mumbai market that was down 1.55%.