London health-care research firm buys Toronto biostatistics company


A London health-care business that has nearly doubled in size since splitting from the Robarts Research office has bought a Toronto company, the latest step in an aggressive growth strategy, the company’s chief executive says.

Alimentiv Inc., formerly Robarts Clinical Trials, has bought McDougall Scientific Ltd., a move that will make the London business even more competitive, said chief executive Jeff Smith.

“This supports our future growth in biostatistics. That is about a $1.5 billion sector, a growing sector and McDougall Scientific is an excellent brand with a depth of expertise in the area,” said Smith.

Biostatistics is the design of biological experiments and the collection and analysis of data from those experiments and the interpretation of the results.

The purchase comes as Alimentiv has seen its workforce nearly double to almost 400 globally including about 250 in London.

In 2020, Alimentiv reported about a 44 per cent increase in sales from 2018, and this purchase will support even more growth, Smith said.

“There is a strong synergy. We have collaborated with them this past year and this is an opportunity for us both to grow. They complement what we do,” said Smith.

McDougall Scientific employs about 20 people.

As for why Alimentiv has seen sales spike in three years, Smith credited greater global demand for health research. Alimentiv does research, largely in the area of gastro intestinal disorders.

McDougall Scientific Ltd. specializes in statistical analysis and data management for clinical trials. It has been in business 35 years.

“We have grown through the pandemic. In the first two months of this year we added 30 employees globally,” said Smith. “We continue to make investment in medical research. We commit a lot of money every year to research. We have collaborations with Western and in California and Amsterdam.”

Formed as a division of Robarts Research in 1986, in 2018 it was sold to a public trust held by its employees, creating the Alimentiv Health Trust.

Alimentiv works with drug companies around the world to study the efficacy of their work. It works with more than 5,000 doctors in about 60 countries.

Alimentiv also has offices in Amsterdam and San Diego, Calif.