IQVIA nudges up guidance on bullish outlook, but R&D services still dragging on COVID-19 challenges

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IQVIA is still steering around COVID-19 roadblocks with its R&D business still posting a loss, but other segments are recovering as it ups its full-year guidance.

In its third-quarter results published this week, the CRO, which is running trials for AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s late-stage COVID-19 vaccine, saw revenue reach $8.06 billion for the first nine months of 2020, a drop of 1.2% at constant currency rates on last year.

Revenue from its Technology & Analytics Solutions segment was the star of the show, hitting $3.43 billion, a growth of 5.6% at constant currency.

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Its Research & Development Solutions unit, however, dragged down, with revenue at $4.07 billion, a drop of 5.4% on the first nine months of 2019.

It is still fighting back, however, and in April the CRO said 80% of its clinical research sites were “inaccessible due to limitations on the ability to travel to and access sites” amid the pandemic. It is now getting back on track.

RELATED: IQVIA: 80% of our trial sites are 'inaccessible' due to pandemic, eyes Q4 for turnaround

At the start of the year, it predicted full-year 2020 sales between $11.7 billion and $12 billion. This guidance was lowered to $10.6 billion to $10.9 billion back in the first quarter.

But the yo-yo keeps bobbing, and, now, IQVIA has slightly upped its guidance from $11 billion to $11.1 billion in the last quarter up to $11.1 billion to $11.25 billion. This assumes that “that localized flare ups of COVID-19 will not have a material impact to fourth quarter results.”

And for 2021, IQVIA sees revenue hitting between $12.3 billion and $12.6 billion and remains upbeat, not just on how well its business can weather COVID-19 but also that the pandemic itself shouldn’t reach the peak of the first wave. “The company has developed this outlook based on the general assumption of continued recovery and return to normal business conditions in 2021,” it said.

“The company further assumes that there will not be another global wave of COVID-19 infection that would lead to public health policy decisions that could cause widespread business and healthcare disruptions, hampering the progress of sites reopening, patients returning to trials or other face-to-face interactions that are important to our business.”

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