Emmes' Acquisition of Essex Management Boosts Its Technology Prowess to Help Solve Global Health Challenges

06 April 2023 | Thursday | Influencers

Emmes, a global, full-service Clinical Research Organization (CRO) recently acquired Essex Management, a technology catalyst enabling innovative clinical research. Essex management provides consulting services in bioinformatics and health information technology (HIT) to academic organizations, private sector companies, and government agencies. This acquisition is Emmes' sixth in a little over two years, which demonstrates the company's commitment to growing both organically and by adding complementary and innovative services to better serve its clients.

Biopharma APAC sat down with Matt Honan (MH), Vice president and global head of corporate development at Emmes and Ching Tian (CT), Chief Innovation officer, Emmes to discuss what this means for Emmes and its future.


Q Can you provide us with more information about the recent acquisition of Essex Management by Emmes?


MH: “The recent Essex acquisition was a competitive auction process run by an investment bank and Emmes expects to participate in more of these, especially now that we are owned by New Mountain Capital. 


While Essex is not necessarily an archetypal acquisition for us, as they are not a CRO, they do fit very neatly with our expertise and add depth to our bioinformatics and other technical capabilities. There is also a nice overlap with some of our current customer base, as they also work closely with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other agencies within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Our respective strengths are very complementary, and we see a lot of synergy opportunities that will help grow both our government and commercial book of business.”

Q What were the key reasons behind this acquisition and how does it fit into Emmes' long-term strategy? 

MH: “Essex’s bioinformatics technology expertise, combined with Emmes’ CRO services, will open doors to new opportunities with a wider set of government agencies and create innovative data strategies for our biopharma clients. Essex’s focus on breaking down barriers in clinical research with technology solutions is completely aligned with Emmes’ mission and values. 

The combination of our two organizations further cements Emmes’ reputation as a data- forward, full-service clinical research partner, adding Essex’s technology skills and experience to our innovative data and advanced analytics solutions strengthens our ability to help clients address the global health challenges we face now and in the future.”


Q Can you tell us more about the current portfolio of Emmes and how the acquisition of Essex Management will complement it? 


MH: “Essex is a recognized leader in computational biology and informatics and its reputation as a technology catalyst for life science innovation will add great value to Emmes. Like Emmes, Essex shares a successful track record with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). By combining its bioinformatics technology expertise with Emmes' CRO services, it will be able to expand its services and collaborate with a broader range of government agencies, as well as develop new data strategies for Emmes' biopharma clients.

I think my new colleague, Kevin Hurley – Essex’s chief executive officer – explained the proposition very well in our recent press release. He commented ‘Presenting our complementary service offerings will open new avenues of growth, not only within NCI but with other NIH agencies. Data is revolutionizing clinical trials in health care, and scientific advances such as genomics are generating an even greater need for data-driven research. Our HIT and bioinformatics depth and Emmes’ track record for long, successful partnerships with its public sector clients will make a potent combination’.”

Q What are the potential benefits that Emmes hopes to achieve through this acquisition?


MH: “Emmes has provided a range of statistical and data analysis support to NCI since 1978, and Essex has supported NCI since the company’s founding in 2009. Two of Essex’s most prestigious NCI contracts support the Clinical Trials Reporting Program, a comprehensive database of all cancer clinical trials, and the Clinical Reporting and Research Informatics Initiative. Essex will add more than 100 employees to Emmes’ 1,400, continuing to boost its stature as a major biosciences employer.”


Q What role do you see technology playing in the future of the Biopharma industry and how is Emmes preparing to leverage it?


CT: “CROs have started shifting away from massive human capital resources toward using technologies that can capture, process, and analyze data. Emmes was one of the first in taking this technology-based approach and it’s a real advantage having designed our own clinical data technology platform, built in house in partnership with clinical project teams. A CRO today cannot just relay on being operationally strong they must be technologically strong as well.


Innovation has provided big opportunities and empowered the shift towards digital and decentralised clinical trails; however, it’s also meant there is a bigger gap in the technological capabilities and needs of many trials. CROs are relied upon now in much more diverse areas and especially so in the last three years. Most of the small- to mid-sized sponsors don't have their in-house SMEs or the bandwidth to go searching for innovative solutions and technologies on their own – and this has been a bigger challenge in the last three years when the industry needed to figure out how to continue trials in flight or start new ones during the COVID pandemic. CROs have to bring not only that clinical and regulatory expertise in, but also come forward with the innovative and digital solution providers for Sponsors. With many siloed solutions not able to work with each other, CROs are investing in connecting them together. They need to be able to offer sponsors useable and flexible solutions that is fit for purpose of their studies.”


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