The life sciences and tech industries are starting to become one in the age of personalized medicine and fast-paced clinical research. Not only are pharma companies partnering with boutique artificial intelligence groups, but large tech giants have begun making their own moves by offering their selection of clinical data solutions.
Dassault Systèmes, a French tech company, first tackled the bioclinical space in 2012 and has now made the single largest acquisition in its history: the $5.8 billion purchase of Medidata, a software service provider which specializes in clinical trials.
“We share common vision, values and passion with Dassault Systèmes, and our combined talents will empower the life sciences industry with an end-to-end business platform,” said Tarek Sherif, CEO of Medidata, in a statement.
“Medidata’s leading position in clinical trials complements our life sciences solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE collaborative platform,” added Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dassault Systèmes.
3DEXPERIENCE is Dassault’s platform for connecting experts with data, ideas and with each other. This could potentially solve the issue of restrictive data sharing, cited as one of impediments to clinical trial success by professionals in the field.
The platform may also pair well with Medidata’s expertise in patient-centric research. The New York-based company has a collection of eClinical products intended to ease the patient experience while simultaneously lowering costs and expediting trials.
While Medidata sounds good on paper, the proof is in its accomplishments. According to Dassault, Medidata technologies were involved in the sale of 13 of the top 15 drugs sold last year and ended 2018 with $636 million in revenue. Their customers include 18 top pharmaceutical companies and nine top contract research organizations (CROs). Medidata’s global reach and rich customer base make this acquisition a rewarding one for Dassault.
“We are now well positioned to be the enabler of the life sciences industry transformation, illustrating our company’s purpose of harmonizing product, nature and life,” said Bernard. The deal is set to close by the fourth quarter of 2019.
Penetrating the healthcare space is a common goal among tech giants. IBM’s history in healthcare dates back to supplying computers for medical research in the 1950s, and has since evolved into developing technologies to advance medical imaging, cancer diagnostics, patient monitoring and healthcare data management. Apple has equipped its smartwatch with heart rate-monitoring capabilities and is testing a new app to treat patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
With big companies launching their own healthcare solutions (or buying out their competitors), the pressure mounts for smaller providers to stay relevant/competitive in a crowded market. Some companies have responded by forming mergers of their own. Quartesian and Medrio formed their own pact in April, while CRF Health and Bracket recently announced their rebranded combined company, Signant Health. MobiHealth counted 17 mergers and acquisitions in the digital healthcare space in the first quarter of 2019 alone.
There appears to be no end in sight for the digitization of healthcare. Soon, it will be matter of which healthcare tech company offers the best products at the right price.