Purchase joins EDC and interactive response technology.
By Deborah Borfitz
Nov. 12, 2008 | Responding to intense interest among study sponsors and investigative sites for consolidated technologies, Phase Forward invested $40 million in cash to acquire privately held Clarix LLC in early September. The move tightly integrates Phase Forward’s flagship InForm electronic data capture (EDC) system with Clarix’s interactive response technology (IRT), which has done more than its competitors to augment the traditional telephone interface with the power of the Web.
So says Phase Forward vice president Martin Young, noting that the company has worked with more than 10 different IRT providers across roughly 100 clinical trials. That Clarix has a fully Web-integrated model for subject randomization, predictive medication inventory management, and operational management and reporting is only one of its chief attributes. Clarix also allows clinical teams to build their own ad hoc reports during the course of a trial and not just use the standard, preconfigured ones.
From contracting to service delivery, customers want to deal with a single project manager and help desk as they employ more technology in the clinical trials process, says Young. They’re also interested in speeding up study start-up time. With Clarix IRT, trials can be set up in less than half the time it typically takes other IRT providers.
Being acquired was not “top of mind” for Clarix, says CEO and founder Jagath Wanninayake. “We were self-funded from the get-go and set out to build a sustainable, long-term business.” Although Clarix has turned down other acquisition opportunities, the deal with Phase Forward made sense because the companies are “like minded” in terms of enabling more efficient clinical trials.
One of the biggest hurdles facing the newly combined companies is keeping up with the “insatiable desire” of the Phase Forward sales team for information about the Clarix IRT solution, says Young. For now, a bi-directional interface will link Clarix to InForm as requested by clients as they set up new studies. Clarix will “effectively be a part of” Phase Forward’s eClinical suite.
“It’s a synergistic sell to InForm’s customer base,” which consists of 280 sponsor companies and another 100 clinical research organizations, says Young. Clarix will also continue to be sold separately. Currently, Clarix has more than 30 customers, including three of the top five and 11 of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies. Its IRT system has been translated into 55 different languages and dialects and has more than 45,000 users in 62 countries.
Clarix generated approximately $2.7 million in revenue in 2007 and is expected to contribute that same amount to Phase Forward’s results for the remaining four months of 2008, says Young. Clarix is projected to produce about $6.3 million for the full year 2008 on a stand-alone basis. In 2009, the company could be contributing $13 to $15 million to Phase Forward’s coffers.
“Growth has accelerated over the last several years as a reflection of adoption [of IRT] in the marketplace and in recognition of the differences we have to offer,” says Wanninayake. The design focus of Clarix IRT is encapsulated by its motto: “It’s our system, but it’s your data.”
Clarix will continue to operate from its existing offices in Radnor, PA.
This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.
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