Olympia, Wash.-based Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB), a privately held IRB, has been acquired by Arsenal Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm that invests in middle-market healthcare, specialty industrial and financial services companies.
WIRB, founded in 1968 by Dr. Angela Bowen, is a provider of independent institutional review board (IRB), biosafety and other human protection services. IRBs, which are mandated by federal and international regulations, review and approve the handling of ethical issues in research protocols before research involving human volunteers can begin.
WIRB pioneered the concept of the independent IRB and, according to the company, is currently recognized as the “gold standard” in the industry. WIRB has offices in theU.S.andCanadaand provides review services to research institutions, CROs and sponsors in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries around the world.
“We are excited about our choice of Arsenal Capital as our partners in creating the next chapter of our evolution,” said Dudley Slater, CEO of WIRB. “This is an extraordinarily positive development for our employees, our clients, and for the human subjects we protect.”
Dr. Donald A. Deieso, operating partner in Arsenal’s Healthcare Group, will become executive chairman of WIRB. “The globalization of clinical research has created a number of new challenges for protecting human subjects,” he said. “WIRB will draw upon its longstanding knowledge of regulations and ethical practices to address these exciting challenges.”
Concurrent with the transaction, WIRB has appointed several experts in clinical research and bioethics as advisors to WIRB. Their addition is expected to strengthen the company’s IRB capabilities and further its planned growth. The new advisors include:
- Dr. Jim Bannon, executive chair, IndiPharm, and former group president, late stage development services, Covance
- Dr. Art Caplan, director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, and author and commentator on human subject protection
- Dr. Scott Hayworth, president and CEO, Mount Kisco Medical Group, and former chair of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA)
- Dr. Per Peterson, former chairman of pharmaceutical R&D (PRD) at Johnson and Johnson
- Dr. Jim Rothman, chair, cell biology department at Yale Medical School, former chief science officer, GE Healthcare and vice chairman, Sloan-Kettering Institute.
Arsenal Capital Partners targets businesses that have the potential for further value creation by working closely with management to accelerate growth and leverage the firm’s operational improvement capabilities. Arsenal currently has $800 million of committed equity capital.