Shares of PPD, one of the Triangle's largest drug-research companies, surged after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is exploring a potential sale.
The newspaper cited unnamed sources and noted that PPD could still change its plans. The company could attract interest from private equity firms and rival contract-research organizations.
PPD is based in Wilmington, but employs about 1,400 people in the Triangle, and contributes to this region's reputation as a hub for the CRO industry. The company was founded 25 years ago by Fred Eshelman, a UNC Chapel Hill alumnus.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that PRA International, a smaller, Raleigh-based CRO, is on the market. PRA moved to Raleigh from Virginia in 2008, and is owned by Genstar Capital, a San Francisco private-equity firm.