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Trial starts above 2019 levels according to IQVIA

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Clinical trial activity has recovered according to IQVIA, which raised its full year forecast citing new business wins by its study division as a major driver.

IQVIA painted a rosy picture of the clinical trials sector during its second quarter call late last month, explaining that trial starts are up 22% versus 2020 levels and up 7% compared to 2019.

The contract research organization (CRO) and services firm cited expanding biopharma late-stage pipelines as a sign of a “large backlog of potential launches.”

CEO Ari Bousbib said COVID-19 had been both a complication and a catalyst for the sector, telling analysts the disruption encountered during the pandemic changed customer demands and prompted innovation.

“During 2020, the pandemic disrupted execution of clinical trials and businesses requiring face-to-face interactions. But at the same time, it accelerated change in the industry. It created new demand for new services,” he said, citing data analytics as a growing area of demand.

Decentralized studies

Bousbib also noted growing industry interest in decentralized clinical trials – studies in which participant data is collected remotely rather than at a trial site – which he said had prompted a number of moves by IQVIA.

“Our clinical technology solutions team continued our path to innovation in decentralized clinical trials with the introduction of IQVIA's Clinical Data Analytics Suite or CDAS. This solution builds on our human data science cloud platform, provides life science companies with new approaches to data use and harmonization as well as producing AI/ML and analytics-based insights.”

Bousbib added, “We now have all of the top 10 and 18 out of the top 20 pharma clients using at least one of the several modules within our clinical technology suite.”
“We are confident that these capabilities will continue to drive strong demand for both our clinical and commercial offerings in 2021 into 2022 and beyond.”

Financials

IQVIA’s revenue for the second quarter grew 36.4% on a reported basis and 33.2% at constant currency. In addition, second quarter adjusted EBITDA grew 49.5%.
The gains prompted the CRO to revise up its revenue guidance for the full year.

CFO Ronald Bruehlman said, “We're raising our full year 2021 revenue guidance by $275 million at the midpoint, reflecting the strong second quarter and the continued operational momentum that we see in the business.

“Our new revenue guidance is $13.550 billion to $13.700 billion, which is year-over-year growth of 19.3% to 20.6%.”

Image: iStock/patpitchaya

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