Pfizer ($PFE) has signed up to use a suite of clinical trial technologies from Oracle ($ORCL). The wide-ranging deal tightens Pfizer’s ties to Oracle, a company it has stuck with as its Big Pharma peers have increasingly thrown their lots in with the software giant’s arch eClinical rival Medidata ($MDSO).
Oracle will provide Pfizer with InForm and Clinical Trial Management and Monitoring cloud services, a suite of applications that spans electronic data capture, risk-based monitoring (RBM) and other aspects of the clinical research process. The offering is underpinned by a cloud service designed to help Pfizer share data with its CROs--Icon ($ICLR), Parexel ($PRXL) and PPD--which it relies on to carry out its clinical trial programs.
“Clinical teams will be able to access study data through Oracle's single platform cloud service, eliminating the need to send data back and forth to CROs, saving us time and reducing the cost of our clinical studies,” Pfizer VP Rob Goodwin said in a statement.
The agreement also gives Pfizer access to Oracle’s RBM technology, which, like similar competitive products, is designed to lower clinical trial costs and improve quality by focusing resources on research sites most in need of close oversight. Oracle is presenting the RBM aspect of the deal as giving Pfizer and its CROs an integrated set of tools to use in the clinical trials.
Pfizer selected Oracle’s RBM and other clinical trial technologies following “a detailed review and selection process,” according to the software giant. The statement suggests Pfizer considered severing its long-standing ties to Oracle, most likely to sign up to work with Medidata. In recent years, Medidata has landed deals with a succession of drugmakers formerly loyal to Oracle, most recently Boehringer Ingelheim and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY).
Some of the early defections stemmed from challenges Oracle faced when digesting its $685 million takeover of Phase Forward, an event that Medidata has cited in the past as helping it to persuade drugmakers to switch sides. More recently, Medidata has pointed to the comprehensiveness and strength of its overall clinical trial platform to explain why Boehringer and Bristol-Myers have opted to jump ship.
Medidata’s deals with Boehringer and Bristol-Myers left Pfizer as the biggest name on an ever-shortening list of Big Pharma companies still wedded to Oracle. Medidata gained a potential route in to Pfizer as far back as 2009 when the Big Pharma acquired Wyeth for $68 billion. Wyeth was a Medidata client, but Pfizer stuck with Oracle in the aftermath of that deal and reiterated its position this week.
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