Regulatory guidance means that thorough QT trials must still be conducted but companies are delaying them until later in the drug’s development.
This, and delayed decision making by pharmas and contract research organisations (CRO), has impacted upon the cardiology and eClinical company’s operations.
Despite net revenues falling from $35.5m in Q2 2008 to $24.2m in its latest results Michael McKelvey, CEO of ERT, remains optimistic and believes the fundamentals of the industry remain strong.
He explained that ERT has had productive “discussions with key pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on strategic outsourcing relationships” but there is still uncertainty about clients’ spending.
Bookings are still down on 2008 and although ERT believes the second half of this year will be better the company has a cautious outlook.
ERT sold its electronic data capture (EDC) business to OmniComm Systems in June. The business generated revenues of $2.5m in the first six months of 2009.
In a conference call with investors McKelvey explained that the company exited the EDC market because “it is clear that a more significant and focused investment is required to be successful”.
This has freed up resources to focus on its cardiac services and electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO) businesses. ERT believes that there are opportunities for growth in the ePRO market, in particular as a tool to asses the suicide risk of a new drug.
Phase Forward is among the other companies that have recognised the potential of the ePRO market and recently bought Maaguzi to increase its presence in the sector.