It’s a Good Time to Be in Clinical Trials

Trends in Clinical Research

Not only is it a time of giant leaps in health-related innovation–from personalized medicine to immunotherapy, to some amazing medtech that promises to sideline conditions that just a decade ago were epidemics–but the industry as a whole is healthier than ever. You can see the evidence from the number of upstarts entering the industry. Companies that are using AI to improve recruiting and analysis, organizations that are centralizing pools of health data, and – near and dear to Medrio’s heart – the competition in data collection. It’s fascinating to examine the number of radically different philosophies and technologies around the relatively simple process of compiling patient data into a database. Healthy competition is a sign of a growing industry, and that competition is good for sponsors, Contract Research Organizations (CROs), sites, and ultimately the most important constituents, patients.

Competition is not the only sign of a healthy sector. The news that French technology company Dassault is considering Medidata as an acquisition target did more than lead to a jump in Medidata’s stock price. It also showed renewed interest in the clinical trial industry as a driver of economic growth. Despite a blockbuster Q1 2019 US GDP growth of 3.2%, experts like Larry Kudlow and Warren Buffett, among others, suggest that, once you look under the hood, the global economy could be nearing a recession. The signs of weakening consumer spending, a global trend of countries withdrawing from trade agreements, and political uncertainty along with the unprecedented length of the current economic expansion have people worried.

By contrast, the healthcare industry seems to have built-in demand, with the aging of developed nations across the world. The BLS predicts 20% job growth in the healthcare industry through 2026. So when an outsider is rumored to be looking at targets within the clinical research industry, it’s of interest to everyone in the industry. It’s a good move for a tech company like Dassault, increasing their exposure in an industry that is red-hot in order to weather upcoming economic uncertainty. The clinical research industry is projected to grow 5.7% annually until 2026 and clinical trial software is pegged at 12.1% annual growth for the next five years, according to GVR. The biggest growth reported is in cloud-based technologies, which is no surprise to customers of Medrio, the first cloud-based EDC. We’ve been evangelists for cloud-based, easy-to-use software since 2005.

Can an acquired eClinical provider maintain its customer focus?

Acquisitions are a good deal for parent companies, who can buy an infusion of growth and diversify their exposure. They’re also good for employees holding stock of the acquired company. But for customers of that company, it can be hit or miss. There are notable mergers and acquisitions that have gone well, but many others have been fraught with issues. This is especially true in an industry like clinical research in which you try to take a culture of innovation and surround it with a shareholder-driven culture that robs it of its mission and what made it special. You might remember recent acquisitions in the space that aren’t going particularly well today. When the parent company starts reducing overhead or combining redundancies, that’s code for cutting costs, which is never a good thing for the customer. R&D and customer service usually suffer, and pricing usually goes up under the guise that a “wholly integrated” platform is more valuable.

The hubbub that the Medidata news has generated has been exciting. Trade pubs are publishing articles exploring hypotheticals. But we’re trying not to get carried away with “what ifs” and the stats behind this deal. We’re more interested in our own stat: our 98% customer satisfaction rating. Our culture of innovation coupled with a customer-first mission has resulted in over 30% growth year over year. In the foreseeable future, you can rely on Medrio to do the same things we have done for the past 14 years: provide compliant technology solutions that are easier to use, deliver best-in-industry customer service, and help you or your clients get products to market sooner.