IMS Health keeps buying Phila firms, employs 1,000 here

IMS Health Inc., a Parsippany, NJ - based drug-marketing and data company, says it has bought Philadelphia-based TTC, a drug clinical-testing cost consultant that says its "clinical trial cost benchmarking and analysis databases are the largest in the world." This is IMS's second local acquisition in a year and boosts the company's Philadelphia-area staff to 1,000, according to IMS officials.

TTC founder Harold Glass PhD and his staff of 30 "will join the IMS team," Glass said in a statement. Fairmount Partners, Philadelphia, and partner Cornelius "Neal" MacCarthy advised IMS in the sale. So did longtime TTC adviser SSG, the West Conshohocken-based special-situations adviser headed by Mark Chesen.

IMS, taken private by a group of venture capital firms led by Texas-based TPG (also an investor in Wayne-based SunGard ) for $6 billion in 2010, also purchased SDI, a healthcare-data firm in Plymouth Meeting, in November. IMS's U.S. business is now based in Plymouth Meeting.

Banker Chesen notes this is the second time Glass, a research professor of health policy and former head of graduate pharmacy studies at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (and at Kings College, London), has sold a company to IMS, a former division of the Dun & Bradstreet business-information firm. IMS bought Glass's DataEdge in 2000.

At the time, Glass says he "returned fulltime to academics," but found DataEdge's drug-company customers weren't happy after IMS sold the business to new operators. "So I restarted the company," with IMS's financial backing.

TTC stands for Tarheel Trading Company; Glass holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. He also has degrees from universities in London and California.

"Dr. Glass is a really talented individual; it's rare to see anyone so extremely successful in both academic and business professions," Chesen told me. "He's a real Renaissance man. He plays the cello. And he loves the Eagles. A super-bright guy you can talk to about any topic."

How does Glass balance that work? 
“Business and academics often doesn’t come together in one place," he told me. "They are very different ways of looking at the world."

Will there be another Glass firm to sell? IMS "has asked me to stay on for another year as an adviser. But, at the same time, I have two other businesses in mind. And IMS is okay with that."