Veeva expands into EDC, poaches VPs from Medidata


Veeva Systems ($VEEV) is wading into the fight between Medidata ($MDSO) and Oracle ($ORCL) for the EDC market. And the cloud software player has poached a pair of VPs from Medidata as part of a hiring spree intended to equip it to take on the incumbents in EDC.

Veeva made its name providing customer relationship management (CRM) software to Big Pharma companies including Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Novartis ($NVS), before going on to expand into eClinical with the introduction of Vault eTMF in 2012. The following year Veeva netted $217 million in an IPO. And it has since looked to leverage its financial might and connections to biopharma companies to make further inroads into clinical trials through the introduction of CTMS and study startup tools.

Now, Veeva is staking a claim for the EDC market. Veeva plans to make its EDC platform available in April, at which time the fight to claw market share away from Medidata and, to a lesser extent, Oracle will step up a notch.

With Medidata and Oracle between them listing Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS), Celgene ($CELG) and Pfizer ($PFE) among the companies to commit to their platforms over the past year, the task of gaining a foothold in EDC looks daunting. But, from what Veeva has heard, not all drug developers are happy with the capabilities offered currently.

“Over the last year we have heard frustrations from customers with legacy solutions that have been short on innovation and high on complexity,” Veeva SVP Brian Longo told FierceBiotechIT.

Veeva thinks it can address these frustrations with a unified software suite covering all steps in the clinical trial process. Such joined-up offerings have been central to the pitches of eClinical players for years, but, as Veeva sees it, they have failed to live up to their billing, either because they are more disjointed than claimed or they lack a piece of the puzzle.

“We believe we can help customers in the long-term with a truly unified suite of clinical applications that span EDC, eSource, CTMS, eTMF, and Study Startup on a single cloud platform. This is something that hasn't been available before and that only Veeva is uniquely capable of delivering,” Longo said. The eSource tool, an area in which Veeva thinks it has an edge on Medidata, is due to be available by the end of next year.

Responsibility for hitting that deadline and grabbing a slice of the EDC sector will fall on a team of eClinical and CRO veterans put together by Veeva in recent months. This year, Veeva has poached Michelle Marlborough and Richard Young from Medidata. Between them, Marlborough and Young spent 17 years at Medidata and rose to the rank of VP. The pair are joined by former Covance, Parexel ($PRXL) and PPD staffers, all of whom landed at Veeva this year.

By putting together the team and going hard at the EDC market, Veeva stands to trigger the biggest shift in the dynamics of the sector since Oracle bought Phase Forward in 2010. That deal marked the start of a tricky period for Oracle, during which Medidata lured away a succession of drugmakers to become the dominant force in the sector. Now, Medidata faces the new challenge of maintaining its position in the face of competition from a well-resourced new entrant.