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Champions 2.0

March 12, 2007

Bill ClaypoolPhoenix Data Systems
Bill Claypool


How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many others companies did not?

No vendor can be all things to all sponsors, so Phoenix Data Systems (PDS) adopted the strategy of being a good listener and being highly responsive to our clients and prospects. We’ve adapted according to that feedback, and it has helped us to grow steadily when others did not. Over the last five years, while attractive to many sponsors, PDS clearly understood that its focus on comprehensive service and predictable delivery speed was particularly attractive to companies that simply couldn’t afford a large internal infrastructure or the long delays associated with bringing new technology in-house. Many of these are small-to-mid-sized pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, but they also include large organizations that are open to outsourcing. At the same time, our core technology been refined and improved to the point where our usability — defined as real-world performance, capabilities, and user-friendliness — is second to none.

What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?

The volume of life science information will continue to expand. That’s easy to predict. Further, the types of information that will have to be integrated will multiply as well. In the eClinical space where PDS competes, life science companies are simultaneously experiencing major upheavals in the conduct of their clinical trials: process and regulatory changes, technology, and off-shoring are just a few. PDS’ role is to help clients conduct successful drug studies, more efficiently, and with minimal risk, despite the upheaval. Our flexible technology helps them manage their studies better by providing better information for smart decisions. Locally or spread across multiple continents, PDS integrates with any number of other systems required to aggregate both traditional (alpha-numeric) and non-traditional data such as images, video and drawings. This flexibility also supports the future developments we expect to see, such as individual patient genomic stratifications, adaptive clinical trials, and pharmaco-dynamic data capture with highly sophisticated images.

What products and services does your company provide, and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?

PDS is the first integrated electronic data management company. We call it full-service EDC. Full-service EDC couples our domain experience in electronic data capture (EDC), electronic clinical data management, and integrated voice response (IVR) into a managed service provider offering that goes beyond the technology or application service provider (ASP) designs. The combination is an integrated turnkey offering that is both remarkably useful and highly cost-effective. Whether a client prefers technology transfer or an ASP offering, our deep knowledge of the clinical user experience and study operations is evident in how well the product works at the site level, as well as for the sponsor.

Our technology better supports sites so that life science companies can choose the best locations for their studies, regardless of connectivity issues. Our IVR isn’t just ‘integrated’ with our EDC — it shares the same database — meaning that sites can randomize patients and start entering data in the EDC system immediately. Our services are specifically designed to ensure that clients get the maximum that the technology has to offer — faster and more efficiently. And the PDS business model minimizes the change order charges and the cost unpredictability that has plagued clinical trial budget management before and after the advent of eClinical.

Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?

To support our clients, PDS works with nearly every major clinical research organization (CRO), a wide variety of technology companies, specialty clinical services organizations, and, of course, sponsor teams. Since many sponsors have an idea of their own preferred vendors, PDS has chosen not to approach the market with a preset list of partners. That said, we do have a limited number of relationships with CROs and providers of statistical services and clinical safety for those clients who do not have a pre-established preference. We know the timeliness and the quality our customers expect. The commitment required to ensure that a partnership really delivers is very challenging; PDS is probably more selective than many sponsors.

What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?

The key PDS initiatives focus on helping more sponsors to utilize EDC successfully in all their studies. For example, we work continuously on processes, technology, and services to minimize the time it takes to deploy an EDC study. EDC should not only be more economical than other alternatives, it must also meet or beat the aggressive timelines required by sponsors. These timeframes can be especially demanding in early phase studies. We are expanding visualization and search tools that will help clients to better manage their trials with improved access and decision-making. And PDS is enhancing our technology transfer offerings with a “shared ASP” product. All of these initiatives will make certain that PDS clients receive the speed and predictability of study design and with the full study transparency they have come to expect from us.

Where do you see your company in five years?

PDS has maintained a remarkably consistent rate of annual growth exceeding 40 percent since 2000. Over the next five years, PDS will systematically innovate with new products and services and we will grow our client roster. The company is making calculated efforts to realize that goal by investing in additional resources and talent and by remaining focused on our core values. We’ll continue to provide outstanding customer service and maintain our long-standing relationships with clients. In five years, we expect that there will be many more eClinical trials and many fewer vendors. With hard work, we’ll be one of those few remaining vendors — and still the leading full-service EDC provider.

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