ERT sees rev climb in Q1 despite higher cancellation rate

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Clinical trial

eResearch Technologies (ERT) posted first quarter gains after the contribution from recently acquired respiratory biz and cost controls helped offset a higher project cancellation rate.

Net Revenue for the three month period was $41.7m (€28m), nearly double that seen in the comparable quarter in 2010, while operating income was 94 per cent higher than last year at $5.4m.

However, much of the growth was a result of the $18.9m contributed by CareFusion Research Services (RS), the respiratory diagnostics and medical device manufacturing unit that ERT bought in May​ last year.

Cancellations increase

CSO Joel Morganroth, who served as interim CEO during the reported quarter, said ERT’s revenue had been impacted by cancellations, namely a ‘large’ TQT project and three respiratory disorder-focused clinical trials, and exchange rates.

This was reflected in the financial report which showed that, for the quarter, ERT’s cancellation rate was 24.6 per cent, up from the 21.3 per cent rate it reported in the year-earlier period.

However, things could have been worse according to Morganroth, who said that the firm had responded to the cancellations by moderating its expenses during the period by delaying planned investments and temporarily halting its hiring programme.

Bookings up

On a more positive note Morganroth welcomed the $71.8m worth of electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO), respiratory services and cardiac safety booking ERT received in the three months to March 31 as an indication the firm is off to a “strong start in 2011.”

And events since the quarter ended seem to support this idea. Just last month​, for example, ERT said it has signed $10m worth of bookings for its ePRO research services business.

The company said it signed an exclusive agreement with a ‘top 5’ pharma company, worth $7m, under which it will manage a series of studies using its proprietary VIAPhone platform.

Other contracts includes a $3m (€2.1) deal for use of ERT’s VIAPen solution in a pivotal Phase III program, and a $1.2m (€838k) deal for the company’s VIAPhone Pain Diary system, for use in a phase III clinical trial.

ERT predicted revenue of between $46m and $46m in the second quarter and, for the full year, maintained its $178m to $188m target.

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