HCL Tech adds Novartis to roster of Big Pharma clients

India-based HCL Technologies has shown a skill for winning Big Pharma contracts, with the $500 million deal it inked with Merck ($MRK) in 2010 a standout example. HCL has now added Novartis ($NVS) to its list of clients, with the Swiss pharma signing up to outsource its infrastructure management to the IT services company.

With its latest deal, HCL said it now manages infrastructure for four of the top 7 global pharmaceutical companies. Novartis will tap HCL's remote infrastructure management services to help keep its global network of data centers--which cover 70 countries across 6 continents--running smoothly. HCL, India's fourth-largest IT services company, views the deal as a big step for its Germany, Austria and Switzerland-focused business unit.

In a statement, HCL Technologies EVP Ashish Gupta said the cost savings provided by the company's outcome-based business models, best practices and tools helped win the Novartis contract. The value, duration and other details of the deal haven't been disclosed, but the stock market reacted favorably, with HCL gaining 3.1% on the Bombay exchange. HCL is up more than 11% this year, with demand for the infrastructure management services featured in the Novartis deal boosting the business.

Having a head start in Europe has also helped HCL gain ground on bigger rivals in the Indian IT services sector, notably Infosys ($INFY) and Wipro. Novartis joins GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) among HCL's leading pharma accounts in Europe. In the U.S., HCL has publicly disclosed relationships with Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Merck, while media reports have also listed Pfizer ($PFE) as a client.

- here's the release
- and Times of India's take