Exclusive CEO Q&A: BioClinica chief Mark Weinstein on firm's eClinical makeover

BioClinica CEO Mark Weinstein

A little over three years into transforming his company into a provider of diverse clinical trials software and services, BioClinica CEO Mark Weinstein says the company has laid the groundwork for significant growth in the firm's eClinical business.

With its roots in image management for clinical trials, BioClinica plunged into the electronic data capture (EDC) game with its $24 million buyout of Phoenix Data Systems in early 2008. It picked up two other eClinical players--Tourtellotte Solutions and TranSenda International--in 2009 and 2010, respectively, adding to what Weinstein expects will be the fastest-growing segment of its business in years to come.

Though BioClinica (formerly Bio-Imaging Technologies) has had five straight fiscal quarters of year-over-year revenue growth, the firm faces a common dilemma of growing through multiple acquisitions--bringing all the various parts together into something unified. Weinstein, who's been chief executive of the Newtown, PA-based firm since February 1998, provided insights about his company's future challenges and hurdles ahead for the eClinical sector as a whole. 

The following are excerpts from FierceBiotech IT's exclusive interview with Weinstein.

FierceBiotech IT (FBIT): What makes you hopeful about the future of the eClinical business?  

Mark Weinstein (MW): As we grew up in the imaging world, we understood that there is tremendous benefit in getting larger and getting more financially secure from a client perspective. In imaging, we rounded out our offering where we cover all the major therapeutic areas, and we're a dominant player. The challenge, we then said, is our market for imaging is only $350 million.

We had been watching the eClinical space, and we'd seen companies come and go. I don't know whether you've been around long enough to remember things like CB Technologies; they were actually the No. 2 player in EDC that (filed for Chapter 11) around 2003. Which actually put a lot of shockwaves through the industry. In about 2007, we said that there's going to be an incredible opportunity in the eClinical space but it's going to take some time to evolve. And we said that we needed to do the same thing we did in imaging. Let's gain an entry point, but, ultimately, let's pick up some best-in-class point solutions one at a time, and drive that toward where this is going to go, which is an integrated offering--knowing that the market is not going to buy that today.  

FBIT: What concerns you most about the future of the clinical trials software business?

MW: From an overall market perspective, I don't have a lot of issues. Drug development is here to stay. Our regulatory authorities aren't going to make it any easier to get a drug approved, and you're going to have to prove that it works. Also, you're dealing with an economic necessity where pharma has got to do things smarter and more efficiently. We think this is going to happen in a couple of ways: Big Pharma is going to do a lot less early-phase work and they are going to buy results, which means you're going to continue to have growth of the small- to medium-sized pharma. And once they get to Phase II, with efficacy, we can feel pretty comfortable that if the drug or device works they're going to get bought by somebody big. We used to talk to a lot of small and medium pharmas about their commercialization plans, and we never hear that anymore. So the market is going to evolve. 

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