Oracle buys ClearTrial for clinical trials software

The deal builds on Oracle's portfolio of related applications

Oracle said Thursday it has acquired ClearTrial, which offers cloud-based applications that help companies run clinical trials of new drugs. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of this year, were not disclosed.

ClearTrial's capabilities will be combined with related assets in Oracle's software portfolio, such as those gained through its 2010 acquisition of Phase Forward. That purchase in turn built on Oracle's 2009 purchase of drug-safety software vendor Relsys.

The cost of conducting clinical trials is on the rise, and ClearTrial's software will give Oracle "leading budgeting, forecasting and analytics capabilities" that can help keep expenses down, Oracle said in a FAQ document on the acquisition.

The company's technology is complementary to Oracle's related products and customers' investments in ClearTrial will be protected, according to the FAQ.

ClearTrial's customers include some of the world's largest biopharmaceutical companies, among them Genentech and Astra-Zeneca, according to its website.

The acquisitions of ClearTrial, Phase Forward and Relsys are part of Oracle's intention to "paint an end-to-end health care vision" spanning everything from drug discovery to areas such as drug manufacturing, distribution and patient health records, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

It will likely continue making acquisitions in support of its health care business, given the market's growth due to the world's aging population and solid margins, Wang said. The strategy also gives Oracle an opportunity to sell its database and ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to health care providers as well, he added.

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