PRA Health Sciences, in its second-quarter earnings call, announced that it has acquired Value Health Solutions (VHS), a two-year-old clinical development software company, for $2.5 million.
The deal, formally announced at PRA’s quarterly earnings meeting, enables PRA to use VHS’ library of clinical trial management applications and modules that align with the CRO’s strategy to accelerate the development of its Predictivv platform, which was launched last month.
“With the increasingly higher level of complexity in conducting clinical trials, we think our approach will provide our clients with the transparency and proactive decision support to optimize the performance of their trials,” Colin Shannon, PRA’s chief executive officer, said in response to questions from analysts seeking more information about the VHS deal. “We also believe the platform allows us to take advantage of rapid changes in technology.”
PRA will conduct a pilot study to harmonize data, processes and people across a clinical trial. It also plans to launch several major applications that focus on clinical trial management, including patient recruitment, site selection and investigator engagement.
Shannon has said that PRA Health Sciences, which late last year launched a successful IPO (initial public offering) and changed its corporate name, has talked about modernizing the company’s entire IT backbone. The VHS deal, which provides application development to its Predictivv platform, follows a number of competitors that are investing in different branded technology platforms, including Infosario at Quintiles and Xcellerate at Covance.
“The platform approach means that with all the modern technologies, it just gives you ideas that you can adopt very, very quickly and rapidly,” said Shannon. “It doesn’t preclude us from using—even temporarily—some other pieces, but then taking advantage of new technologies that become available.”
In VHS, PRA Health Sciences has acquired a company whose founder, Neil Parthasarathy, chose to develop a library of clinical trial management applications and modules using cloud technology that aligns with PRA’s strategy.
On the VHS website, he wrote that the formation of the company began by attending a party with healthcare professionals where he learned that some physicians felt their job was more difficult, yet they all used smartphones and at least one application daily. One doctor said that in addition to taking part in continuous medical education (CME) programs, he now has to learn the paradigm of healthcare that includes healthcare policies/reforms and new HIPPA regulations. The doctor believes that, when comparing what he used to do with current practices, there is no difference in the quality of care. But many new systems and procedures, he said, now are required learning to fulfill their job duties.
“After a few rounds of deeper discussion with a few healthcare professionals, I came up with a finding that ‘connected health’ and ‘social health’ is a way to go,” said Parthasarathy.
The PRA acquisition also comes during a big push to hire more CRAs and other positions, Shannon said during the earnings call. He added that the CRO industry is “seeing some pressure on salaries and we’ve got to be careful with pricing.”
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