Small eClinical businesses must find niche

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Datatrak, Clinical trial

Datatrak believes that to compete against the eClinical giants companies should focus on a specific niche and hopes this plan will help it post a profit after recording a small loss in Q2.

Medidata and Phase Forward are viewed as the dominant electronic data capture (EDC) vendors but opportunities exist for companies that differentiate themselves and focus on a specific industry segment, according to Datatrak.

To capture some of the market not occupied by Medidata and Phase Forward the company launched Datatrak One, which is a comprehensive, multi-component clinical trial management technology.

Datatrak One “is the only solution built on a single unified platform​”, according to Laurence Birch, interim CEO of Datatrak, and this offers the company an advantage over its competitors.

Edging towards the black

In the past three quarters Datatrak has come close to breaking-even and reduced the significant losses that occurred last year. Operating loss in this quarter was $36,000 (€26,000), down from $15.6m in the corresponding period of 2008, although this included a $12.8m impairment loss.

Adjusting for the impairment the company’s financial situation still improved. This has been achieved despite a 19 per cent decrease in revenues as the company’s cost-reduction measures have taken hold.

Some of these savings have been achieved by alleviating itself of reporting obligations with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Furthermore, Datatrak is now audited by BDO Seidman, as opposed to Ernst & Young, and this move has also reduced expenditure.

These measures have helped stabilise Datatrak but the company is still facing challenges. Quarter-on-quarter backlog fell by 12 per cent but the situation has improved since the accounts closed on June 30.

The financial boost came from a deal with a contract research organisation (CRO) that will generate an estimated $745,000. Under the terms of the letter of intent Datatrak will provide services for a Phase III trial that the CRO is conducting with a top 20 pharma company.

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