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Constella Group Continues Growth, Plans To Acquire Lineberry Research Associates

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DURHAM, N.C. — The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Cat Lineberry will keep working together, but will have a new boss and will become part of a new company.

Constella Group

, an international provider of professional health services, said Thursday that it would acquire Lineberry Research Associates (LRA), a contract research organization based in Research Triangle Park. The Lineberrys founded the company 11 years ago.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Constella, which is based in Durham but has operations in more than 40 countries, said the Lineberry firm will become part of its pharmaceutical product development group. All of Lineberry’s more than 70 employees will be retained, Constella said.

As part of Constella, the Lineberrys will report to a familiar face. Steve Smith, president of the product development group, joined Constella earlier this year when Constella acquired Origin, a contract research organization based in the United Kingdom. Smith was president of that firm. Origin and LRA had collaborated on a number of different projects over the years.

Charles Lineberry will serve as chief scientific officer and Cat Lineberry will be vice president of strategic affairs for product development. Before founding LRA, Charles Lineberry led clinical neurosciences at Burroughs Wellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline). Cat Lineberry also was an executive at Burroughs Wellcome.

Acquiring Origin and LRA boosts Constella Group’s employee count to nearly 1,300.

The Lineberry firm focuses on regulatory affairs, medical writing, product development strategy, clinical trial management and data management services.

The deal is expected to close within the next 30 days.

“With the addition of LRA, Constella will have a stronger regulatory, product development and medical writing presence in the United States as well as expanded clinical and biometrics operations,” said Donald Holzworth, Constella Group’s chairman and chief executive officer. “LRA has built a strong reputation in the CRO marketplace and shares our commitment for quality work and strong client relationships. This acquisition is a strategic fit for both organizations, and I look forward to welcoming LRA’s employees into Constella.”

The pharmaceutical product development group will have operations in the U.K. and the Triangle, with more than 100 people working in each location, according to a Constella spokesperson.

“We are proud to join an organization that has such a strong commitment to enhancing human health,” said Charles Lineberry. “Joining Constella will allow us to provide our clients with broader services, greater geographical reach, particularly in Europe, and increased clinical and data management capabilities in the United States.”

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