On March 29, Oracle announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire ClearTrial, provider of cloud-based clinical trials operations applications. The likely fate of ClearTrial is to be folded into Oracle’s Health Sciences suite (there are worse fates), rounding out Oracle’s current Health Sciences offerings. Those include LabPas (which helps researchers find human guinea pigs for studies), Oracle IRT (which helps researchers manage things like patient randomization and patient diary data), and other applications.
This move on Oracle’s part has raised a few eyebrows, as Oracle seems to be moving into the realm of big pharma. It would make perfect sense for Oracle to do so – it’s a field that meshes well with Oracle’s expertise in big data, is always in demand, and has a multitude of big name, stable clients. ClearTrial’s customers include Allergan (maker of Botox), Sanofi (producer of Allegra) and AstraZeneca, the seventh-largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
Indeed, with this acquisition, Oracle has established a vertical market for itself in the field of health IT. Oracle can now be your one-stop -shop for everything you need for your clinical trial, from finding volunteers to analyzing your data. The folks at Oracle are generally fans of this business strategy – another example of this would be their recent activity in the CRM field, where they also seem very interested in establishing a vertical market. This is consistent with their acquisition strategy across the board. They’ve been eyeing industry specific software acquisitions, particularly in an effort to continue competing with boutique software firms to be the best in each industry.
Oracle itself states quite clearly on their website the benefits of working within a vertical industry: “The vertical analytic applications are specific industry extensions or flavors of BI Applications that enable organizations to realize the value of a packaged analytic application, such as rapid deployment, lower TCO, and built-in best practices, while also being able to very easily extend those solutions to meet their specific needs in that industry – all on one common BI architecture.”
What are Oracle’s long-term plans in health sciences? Only time will tell… Oracle can be a bit of a wild card, and it’s hard to guess their next move, but this blogger wouldn’t be shocked to see them begin making the baby steps to move deeper into the pharmaceutical industry.