Medidata, Parexel jostle for position in risk-based monitoring market

The potential cost savings generated by risk-based monitoring of clinical trials has led some to tip it as a way to significantly streamline pharma's flabby studies. And that potential has lured tech providers, with Medidata ($MDSO) and Parexel ($PRXL) both advancing their claims on the market this week.

Having unveiled Sanofi ($SNY) as a user of its risk-based monitoring tools last month, Medidata has now partnered with Big Pharma consortium TransCelerate BioPharma. The partnership differs from the Sanofi deal in that Medidata is providing metrics and analytics to help TransCelerate understand risk-based monitoring, as opposed to using its technology to support trials. Specifically, Medidata is tasked with assessing the contribution of source document verification to overall clinical data quality. 

Medidata will use the database of 7,000 trials run by 120 sponsors that it has built over the past 5 years to answer this question, with a view to co-authoring a paper with TransCelerate on the topic. While the current relationship is more about building understanding than growing sales, it puts Medidata's capabilities in front of the who's who of Big Pharma companies that make up TransCelerate. AstraZeneca ($AZN), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and others are all potential buyers of the technology. 

Some of the members, notably Pfizer ($PFE), have existing relationships with one of Medidata's competitors for the risk-based monitoring sector: Parexel. The CRO has added data-driven monitoring capabilities to its eClinical platform, joining an increasingly congested market. Fellow CRO and Pfizer partner Icon ($ICLR) is also offering risk-based monitoring. While the technology cuts the need for site visits, Icon doesn't expect it to be a big financial boost to the company, a fact Wells Fargo analyst Tim Evans thinks is likely due to competition.

- read Medidata's release
- and Parexel's news