in merger deal

Company withdraws application for stock offering

Area companies

January 11, 2000|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF put its plans for a stock offering on hold yesterday after announcing that it has merged with an Illinois-based pharmaceutical research patient recruitment company.

The Owings Mills-based company also announced a $16 million investment from three venture capital groups, and said it expects to raise up to another $15 million.

The capital was provided by Galen Associates Inc., Tullis-Dickerson & Co. and Delphi Ventures, the company said.

Because of the merger with privately held Affiliated Research Centers Inc., pulled its application for a $60 million public offering, which the company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June.

"We are a very different company now," said Scott M. Rifkin,'s founder and chief executive officer.

Rifkin will serve as chairman of the new company, which will retain the name and will have corporate offices in Owings Mills and Gurnee, Ill.

The company has 55 employees in the Baltimore area, and it expects to add to that, Rifkin said.

The new company will decide if it will submit another application for an initial public offering "in the near future," he said. operates a Web site that offers health information and live questions and answers with physicians.

The new company will use the Web site to also find volunteers for pharmaceutical research, he said.

"We will become the national leader in helping pharmaceutical companies address one of their biggest unmet needs, and that is the ability to complete clinical trials," Rifkin said.

"We will help companies get their clinical trials done faster and help them bring pharmaceuticals to the market faster. This is clearly an area no other Internet company is focused on."

The combined revenues of the new companies will exceed $60 million, Rifkin said.

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