Quintiles Transnational, the world’s largest contract research organization, has triggered a bidding war for a British clinical research services firm.

Shares in publicly traded Clinphone soared 40 percent Friday after Quintiles announced its interest in buying the company.

In trading Monday, however, the stock traded at $2.70, diwn from $2.82 after news about Quintiles’ interest surfaced.

Earlier Friday, Massachusetts-based Parexel International (Nasdaq: PRXL) announced an agreement to acquire Clinphone for $182 million, according to the Associated Press.

"Quintiles believes that the operations of Clinphone are a strategic fit with Quintiles’ clinical research capabilities and confirms that it has been in discussions with the board of Clinphone which may or may not lead to an offer," Quintiles said in a statement as reported by Reuters.

The full statement as provided to WRAL Local Tech Wire from Quintiles reads as follows:

"Quintiles Transnational Corp. ("Quintiles") notes the announcement by Parexel International Corporation ("Parexel") of a recommended acquisition of ClinPhone plc ("ClinPhone").

"Quintiles believes that the operations of ClinPhone are a strategic fit with Quintiles’ clinical research capabilities and confirms that it has been in discussions with the Board of ClinPhone which may or may not lead to an offer being made for ClinPhone. Any such offer, if made, would be in cash and at a premium to the price per share proposed to be offered by Parexel.

"Quintiles is currently conducting its due diligence on ClinPhone. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Quintiles, which is privately held, provides a variety of services for pharmaceutical and other companies to conduct clinical trials. Quintiles also operates an investment group and a consulting services unit. The firm employs some 20,000 people in more than 50 countries.

Paraxel offered an 86 percent premium of $2.62 per share. On Feb. 14, Clinphone shares traded at $1.41 per share, according to Reuters.

Friday afternoon, Clinphone shares traded at $2.82.

ClinPhone, which is based in Nottingham, England-based, provides software and services for clients to track clinical trial data.

Last month, Quintiles reached agreement to acquire Eidetics, a privately held decision-analytics and market research consulting firm located in Boston. That firm will become part of its expanding Quintiles Consulting business.

In January, Quintiles closed on a deal that brought the firm new lead investors. Bain Capital and TPG Capital bought out the ownership share of One Equity Partners in Quintiles. The amount has not been disclosed, but media reports have said it was in excess of $3 billion.

Dennis Gillings, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Quintiles, remained an investor and head of the company. Other investors in Quintiles include 3i and Temasek Holdings.

One Equity is the private equity arm of Wall Street giant JPMorgan. It provided the bulk of the financing in 2003 when Gillings put together a $1.7 billion deal to take Quintiles private.

Gillings launched the company in 1982 while working as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.