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`Clinical trials, analytics to fuel demand for business intelligence'

Madhumathi D.S.

Bangalore , Aug 30

THE boom time and the resultant ratcheting up of operations by pharma and clinical trial companies seem to be rubbing off on their business intelligence (BI) solutions providers too.

Pharmaceutical, biotech and clinical research sectors are the sunrise sectors driving up the BI business, especially in India and China; and the BI applied in the pharma industry is among the most mature, says Mr George Varghese, Head, Marketing & Alliances/Pharma & ITES of SAS India. Part of the $1.53-billion global BI major, SAS India is quickly scaling up its pharma product lines in tune with the industry's needs.

SAS, which is present in clinical data management or CDM, drug development and sales and marketing in India, sees a fuelling of BI demand from the high-growth areas of clinical trials and analytics, Mr Varghese told Business Line. So much so, SAS's business in pharma and ITeS solutions grew 115 per cent for the January-July 2005 period; and the company looks set to overshoot the target by 20 per cent for the current year, he said.

Companies look to BI solutions to take timely, informed decisions and cut the product time to market. The US-based Institute for OneWorld Health, which is trying out a cure for `kala azar', has collated its trial data related to 667 patients in Bihar using SAS tools. It hopes to apply this year for the regulatory approval for the drug.

Forecasts of IDC and Frost & Sullivan have put 30 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) until at least 2008. With some 33 drug products set to lose US patent cover in the next two years, this would open a $45-billion generics market, further pushing the need for intelligent research and market forecasts, he said.

BI investments by domestic pharma and biotechnology companies would vary according to the application: around Rs 25 lakh for sales and marketing BI; while CDM and drug development solutions would range from several lakhs to Rs 3 crore.

Mr Varghese said currently, some 18 per cent of its revenues are from the pharma business. SAS' 155 installations in the country include Dabur, Glenmark, Zydus Cadila, and MNCs — Novartis, GSK, Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Over 60 per cent of them are clinical research organisations which are growing by the month and going up the value chain into clinical data management and thereby pumping up the BI demand, he said.

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`Clinical trials, analytics to fuel demand for business intelligence'


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