BRIGHTON, UK — Pegasus, one of the UK's fastest-growing healthcare consultancies, has sold to listed Irish company UDG Healthcare, a provider of outsourced services to drug companies, in a deal worth up to £16.8m.

Pegasus will join Ashfield Healthcare Communications, part of UDG Healthcare’s Ashfield Commercial and Medical Services Division. The deal comes after Pegasus grew 39% in 2015 to almost £9m in fee income, making it one of the UK's largest healthcare PR firms.

Those numbers give Pegasus a rank of 117th among the world's top 250 PR firms, as per the 2016 Global Communications Report. The firm is also one of the top 10 fastest-growing firms in Europe, and was recently shortlisted for EMEA Healthcare Consultancy of the Year, after winning the award in 2014.

Lisa Bradley, who founded Pegasus in 1992, moves into the role of chairman, following the departure of previous chairman Tim Adams. Simon Hackett becomes managing director. Pegasus will now report to David Moore, director at Ashfield Healthcare Communications.

"We know they are the right cultural fit for our agency and they share our passion for delivering innovative campaigns across healthcare," said Bradley. "Joining Ashfield will increase the breadth and depth of services we offer to our clients and will provide our staff with the opportunity to acquire new skills."

Focused on consumer healthcare, Pegasus operates a team of 100  in Brighton, working across a broad range of services, including digital, social and creative. Clients include Daiichi Sankyo, Denplan, DuPont, Elanco, GR Lanes, LloydsPharmacy and PAGB. Existing accounts include Thornton & Ross, Holland & Barrett, Godrej Group, LF Beauty, Danone, Novo Nordisk and Bayer (OTC & Animal Health).

UDG’s business is now concentrated in two units: Ashfield, which provides pharma majors such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer with outsourced services such as sales reps and healthcare communications; and Sharp Packaging, which provides barcoding for drug serialisation.

"This is a strategically important acquisition for UDG Healthcare and Ashfield," said Moore. "It strengthens our existing communications offering and broadens our capabilities in patient and consumer communications programmes, as well as corporate reputation and crisis management for our growing client base."