“There’s an opportunity with Covance being acquired,” Tom Pike, CEO of Quintiles, said Wednesday at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “There’s customer uncertainty around what” the acquisition will mean for its central labs customers, he added.
The development comes as Covance CEO Joe Herring acknowledged in the company’s latest earnings call that its central labs business is underperforming. The business grew only 3% year on year in 2014, though Herring said the labs business had an exceptional third quarter in 2013.
Pike’s interest in becoming the world’s leader in central labs, in addition to being the world’s largest CRO, comes as he also professed his interest in moving Quintiles beyond typical CRO services and “engaging in new ways with customers that the industry hasn’t seen.”
He pointed specifically to the company’s recent acquisition of EHR (electronic health record) service provider Encore, noting that the importance of EHRs to pharma firms has yet to be fully realized. He added that Quintiles is working with EHR data from a large hospital system and discussing ways to bring that to pharma companies.
Pike added that Quintiles has begun installing some of its technology solutions for customers for fees, though he can’t talk more about the initiative until the revenue grows and “it becomes big.”
And as far as stealing market share from Covance while they transition through the acquisition, Quintiles isn’t the only Covance competitor looking at the deal opportunistically.
James Foster, CEO of Charles River Laboratories said Wednesday that Covance “is being sold to a non-synergistic parent” and the deal “could concern or spook some of their clients and we’ll carefully and professionally look into some of [Covance’s] clients.”