Harris Williams & Co. Advises Western Institutional Review Board in its Sale to Arsenal Capital Partners

March 1, 2012

Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB), the world’s largest independent institutional review board (IRB), to Arsenal Capital Partners (Arsenal). WIRB was a portfolio company of BV Investment Partners (BV). Harris Williams & Co. acted as the exclusive advisor to WIRB. The transaction closed on February 29, 2012 and was led by the firm’s Healthcare & Life Sciences (HCLS) and Technology, Telecom & Digital Media (TTDM) Groups.

“Founded in 1968, WIRB pioneered the concept of the independent IRB and over the years has established an outstanding reputation for its market leadership, integrity and expertise. The transaction illustrates the significant M&A interest for companies that provide value-added services for pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations, medical device sponsors and research institutions,” said Todd Morris, a managing director in Harris Williams & Co.’s San Francisco office and HCLS Group.  “WIRB’s data and workflow management systems enable the company’s stringent focus on compliance and improve the operational efficiency of its reviews.  We continue to see great interest in technology-enabled healthcare assets,” said Garin Arevian, a director in Harris Williams & Co.’s Boston office and TTDM practice.  
WIRB provides information-based services that play an integral role in the clinical trial process for new drugs and medical devices, an area of growth within the healthcare industry. Over the course of its 44-year history, WIRB has established long-term relationships with a broad base of blue-chip clients, including many of the nation’s leading medical and academic research centers, as well as large pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.
BV is an experienced sector-focused private equity firm in North America.  Since its founding in 1983, the firm has invested over $2.6 billion in over 75 companies, actively targeting investments in the information and business services and communications industries.

Arsenal Capital Partners invests in specialty product and services companies in industries where it has substantial prior experience and expertise and can support management teams to drive growth and improve productivity. Arsenal focuses on growing niche markets including healthcare, specialty chemicals, aerospace and defense, specialty components, business services and distribution and logistics.