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ICON plc (Nasdaq: ICLR) | Company Profile, History, Competitors


ICON plc (NASDAQ: ICLR) is a contract research organization (CRO) that provides outsourced clinical development of Phase I-IV studies to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. As of 2017, ICON had 825 clients globally. The company was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

ICON was founded in 1990 Dr. John Climax and Dr. Ronan Lambe. ICON provides clinical drug development services for Phase 1-IV trials. These serves include protocol study development, clinical risk management, patient recruitment, laboratory testing and commercialization studies.

Business Overview

ICON provides clinical development services on a full-service basis as well as on a strategic resourcing basis, in which their teams are embedded within a client’s internal operations, also known as functional service provider (FSP). ICON provides the following service offerings:
  • Early Phase Services Clinical pharmacology, protocol study development and biostatistics
  • Clinical Research Services Manages Phase II-III clinical trials, clinical risk management, data analytics, adaptive design, patient recruitment, safety studies and technology services
  • Site and Patient Recruitment Services Provides recruiting services through its owned and third party site networks, enhance site feasibility via access to electronic medical records and Firecrest services
  • Resourcing and FSP Services Provides inhouse services and resources to clients
  • Laboratory Services Provides analytics in central laboratories, liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, immunoassays and biomarkers
  • Commercialization and Outcomes Peri-approval & observational research, pricing & market access studies, clinical outcomes assessment, scientific communications and medical device research
  • Consulting Services Provides pre-clinical advice, chemical & manufacturing controls and business process improvement


ICON has developed technology-based solutions to reduce time and costs in clinical trials:
  • ICONIK: ICON's proprietary data monitoring system. It is a web-based system that can be used to report, analyze, visualize and manage all the clinical data that is collected during clinical development. ICONIK supports risk-based monitoring, which helps improve quality of clinical trials by identifying, assessing, monitoring, and mitigating the risks that could affect the quality and safety of a trial.
  • Firecrest: ICON's site performance management and training system that feeds into the ICONIK system.
  • ADDPLAN: ICON's software for design, simulation and analysis of adaptive clinical trials.
ICON has partnerships with big data analytics companies like IBM Watson, TriNetX, Genomics England, and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes  Measurement (ICHOM). ICON has used IBM Watson to identify patients for clinical trials. ICON has used TriNetX, a research system with access to electronic medical records, to improve clinical trial construction, optimization and patient recruitment.


As of 2017, ICON had 825 total clients. Roughly, 40% of net revenues came from the top 5 clients. ICON has partnerships with Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Regeneron and Shire. As of 2017, ICON also had a backlog of $4.9bn projects from existing clients[1].


Its main competitors are Laboratory Corporation of America, IQVIA, Syneos Health, PPDI, Paraxel, PRA Health, and Medpace.


The company was founded in 1990 in Dublin, Ireland by Dr. John Climax and Dr. Ronan Lambe . Dr. John Climax received his primary degree Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from University of Singapore. Dr. Ronan Lambe received this Bachelors of Science in Chemistry, Masters in Biochemistry and PhD in Pharmacology from the National University of Ireland.

In 1991, the company opened its first overseas office in Winchester, UK. In 1992, the company opened its first US office in Philadelphia. In 1998, the company went public.

In 2008, the company signed a strategic agreement with Eli Lilly to manage their clinical data in over 36 countries.

In November 2016, ICON suffered a significant cancellation from Pfizer, its largest customer, which discontinued the development of its cholesterol-lowering PCSK9
inhibitor drug candidate after Phase III trials. The cancellation represents over $100 million of revenues.

In 2017, the company acquired Mapi, a provider of health outcomes research and commercialization services for primarily late stage/Phase IV trials.


Steven A. Cutler (CEO): Steve Cutler serves as CEO since 2017. Prior, he served in various roles at the company including COO and Group President Clinical Research Services. He was also CEO of Kendle, a CRO company that is now part of INC Research. He had also worked at Quintiles.

Brendan Brennan (CFO): Brendan Brennan serves as CFO since 2012. Prior, he served as VP Corporate FInance at ICON. He had also worked at Cement Roadstone Holdings, a building materials company.


 $ USD in millions    2013    2014 2015 2016 2017
 Revenues $1,336 
 Gross Profit $491 
 Operating Profit $121 
 Net Income$103 


ICON plc,
  Type     Public
  Ticker     NASDAQ: ICLR
  Industry Healthcare
  Founded 1990
  Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
  Customers825 (2017)
$1.8bn (2017)
  Employees 13,650 (2017)