IQVIA scanning Indian tech startups focused on AI and data analytics in healthcare for possible buyouts

IQVIA scanning Indian tech startups focused on AI and data analytics in healthcare for possible buyouts

IQVIA, the world’s largest contract medical research and healthcare information provider said it's looking at outright buyouts to investments in start-ups for technologies based on data analytics and artificial intelligence, among others related to healthcare as it transforms into a "Human Data Science Company".

"We will continue to invest in technology companies, we will continue to invest in companies on commercial side, data side anything that we see," said Naz Haji, Managing Director, India of IQVIA in an exclusive interview to Moneycontrol.

"We have done quite a few acquisitions last year. Every deal is different. It's heavy on tech," Haji added.

date = new Date(); date.setTime(date.getTime()+(1*24*60*60*1000)); $.cookie("dfp_cookie_article", "Y1", {expires: date,path:"/",domain: ""});

The North Caronlina, US-based company has made over dozen acquisitions in 2017.

date = new Date(); date.setTime(date.getTime()+(1*24*60*60*1000)); $.cookie("dfp_cookie_article", "Y1", {expires: date,path:"/",domain: ""});

related news

Dr Reddy's launches allergy relief tablets in US

PNB scam case: Govt questions why it should tell Supreme Court about status of probe

PSBs plan to tighten corporate lending norms for loans above Rs 250 crore

Haji said the future investments are geared towards expansion in Asia Pacific that includes India, China, Japan and South Korea where it sees rising demand coming for its services.

He added that in India the company is engaging with startups as it scans for any potential opportunities that fits into its strategy.

"Though we are not a traditional investor in such companies (startups), but we are open," Haji said.

IQVIA focus on technology underscores the growing importance of information technology and data analytics in medical research as pharmaceutical companies are trying to cut costs and improve R&D productivity.

IQVIA was itself born out of the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles in a deal valued USD 9 billion in October 2016 on the premise of helping customers in running less time consuming yet efficient clinical trials to tracking sales once a product has hit the market.

Haji said they have achieved fair amount of success on unlocking the synergy benefits.

For instance armed with data such from payers, drug companies, hospitals and even social media - IQVIA employs data analytical tools to generate heat maps to precisely identify and enroll patients in clinical trials for treatments related to complex and rare diseases. Finding patients was a major challenge for companies developing drugs for rare disease.

On India - Haji said - the country remains "very strategic" for IQVIA both from global delivery perspective and increasingly from clinical and commercial perspective.

About one-fifth of IQVIA's 55,000 workforce are based out of India.

"We still have the cost advantage, what we have now is the talent advantage. In what happened in that 20 years or so is the resources that have been working with us are quite adapt now - managing and so much so that - they are equivalent to what we find in the West in terms of talent  or better. That trend is expected to continue," Haji said.

Haji said his company will hire more human resources in coming months as it sees revival of demand from multinational companies to do clinical trials in India.

"Some of the regulatory challenges on the clincal side are going away now," Haji said.

"I think it's come back on track and we see lot of interest from MNCs. So I don't see anything declining here, I think everything is on its way up," Haji added.

Haji says that the government is more receptive now on regulatory front as it takes feedback from the industry before making or formulating decisions.

The clinical research organisation (CRO) industry has been reviving after near death experience as Supreme Court banned drug trials in 2013 and asked government to formulate comprehensive rules to regulate the approval process after petitions from sections of civil society alleged poor and vulnerable were used as trial subjects by the industry with quiestionable consent and compensation mechanisms.

The subsequent heavy handed regulation by government has brought the entire clinical trials to halt, forcing many CROs to shut shops. The government fearing loss of access to innovative drugs to patients and clinical research business moving to countries like China has simplified and removed certain draconian elements from the regulation.

Haji said apart from MNCs the biggest demand for their services is from local customers with global aspiration or the large Indian pharmaceutical companies that are developing specialty medications and biosimilars for highly regulated markets that require testing on humans, regulatory work and robust sales and distribution networks.

"Some of the technology, some of the molecules that coming out of India are innovative to the point that we haven't seen them anywhere else in the world. I think over the next 5-10 years we will see India leapfrog lot of Europeans in terms of innovation. It's very very encouraging," Haji said.