The eClinical market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 12% to potentially reach beyond $13bn by 2024, according to a report published today by Hexa Research. A report from Grand View Research published earlier this year projected similar numbers, estimating that the market will be worth $12bn by 2025.
Yet this growth is not to be met without its challenges, which for eClinical companies are twofold, including those of both a software company and a life science companies, explained Elliot Miller, chief marketer at Bracken Marketing.
“The software challenges include the constant hunt for the next low-cost high-impact acquisition channel, maintaining high customer retention without incurring high costs of service, and constantly defending against other software teams that can quickly disrupt or encroach their space,” he told us.
How to standout
With such a long list of eClinical players, Miller said digital marketing is a great way to stand out.
“The software companies that successfully use a digital-first go-to-market strategy will earn brand recognition at a lower cost per lead than those investing heavily in events and outbound sales.”
According to Miller, software companies are looking to fill market gaps and differentiate, while “trying to not get stuck ‘in the middle.’”
“You either want to be the entry-level solution or the premium solution. The middle players get squeezed out.”
On the life sciences side, Miller cited long sales cycles, with purchasing windows tied to clinical trial pipelines as one of the main challenges. “For example, you might have found the perfect buyer, but they can’t buy until the next Phase I trial is getting started,” he explained, noting that good salespeople are expensive and thus the cost of sales is high.
These challenges are compounded as the eClinical industry is in a growth phase, and getting increasingly crowded, which Miller said makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd. Though, such challenges are not different from other software niches.
“This niche is in an aggressive growth phase, so a lot of new entrants are coming in,” he said. This includes software companies such as Master Control entering from other verticals, and startups, including TRI Trials and Deep 6 AI, as examples.
Additionally, Miller said the bigger players – such as Veeva – are “doubling-down on R&D, and pulling away from the pack with their product offering.”
The year also has seen high M&A activity, notably Oracle’s purchase of GoBalto, and Bracket owner Genstar Capital’s acquisition of CRF Health. And Miller said this consolidation – seen in the CRO market over the past three years – will likely continue.
“Big players will acquire mid-size players,” he said, which will create “more mass at the top of the market, a vacuum in the middle, and leaves lots of smaller players at the bottom.”
Though currently, as demonstrated in the infographic (below), there is not a clear dominant company in most categories.
Miller described the process of creating a comprehensive list of eClinical companies and categorizing them as near impossible – the infographic could have included a lot more companies and some won’t fully identify with the category Bracken assigned, he noted.