The US firm said: “It will be increasingly important for vendors to deliver a true end-to-end integrated clinical research suite (ICRS) offering EDC, interactive response technology (IRT), data and statistical analysis platforms, safety and ePRO solutions.”
Phase Forward made the prediction during a 2009 results presentation at which, perhaps unsurprisingly, it reported considerable progress in adding services to its clinical trial data capture offering.
CEO Bob Weiler said 2009 was an important year for the firm, explaining that: “We took major steps to evolve Phase Forward from the leading EDC vendor to the first end-to-end provider of an integrated ICRS.
“During 2010… we expect areas complimentary to EDC to be the fastest growing segments of the ICRS market,” forecast Weiler, adding that the company is well positioned for sustained growth in this field.
He went on to predict that, on a non generally accepted accounting principals basis (non-GAAP) operating income for the next 12 months will be in the $7.3m to $8.1m range, on revenue of between $56m to $57.5m.
Despite Weiler's prediction of ICRS-based growth, this outlook and the forecast of 2010 earnings per share (EPS) of between $0.54 and $0.60, saw Phase Forward’ price tumble 26 per cent to $10.94 on afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.
EDC growth to slow 2010
Part of the reason for the price drop, and maybe even for Phase Forward's decision to focus its presentation on ICRS, may have been CFO Chris Menard's forecast that growth of the firm's core EDC business would slow this year.
Speaking at the results presentation he said that: “I think [EDC earnings are] going to drop into the single digits to about 10% starting in the first quarter.”
And, although Menard went on to explain that part of his forecast was based on the fact that EDC consulting work the firm completed in Q4 last year would not be repeated in 2010, the predicted decline did not go unnoticed.
In a note to investor Richard Davis, who follows Phase Forward for Needham & Company, said it is unclear if the forecast is based on EDC market saturation or a loss in market share.