When you’re feeling a tad queasy as a service provider and the prognosis is for lower-than-expected growth in the year ahead (4-6% in this case), one of the prescribed treatments is usually a healthy dose of M&A activity to boost market potential and make the competition sweat instead.
This inorganic medicine can be especially effective when the treatment aligns to a client vertical where you have a strong competitive position. So when Genpact announced the acquisition of Pharmalink Consulting earlier today, a global provider of regulatory services to the life sciences industry, it seemed like the patient was on the right treatment regimen. Charles Sutherland takes a deeper look into the merits of this new acquisition…
Genpact has been a leading performer in the life sciences vertical for several years now, being especially dominant providing finance and accounting BPO for a host of the leading pharma giants such as Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Sanofi and GSK. In addition to Genpact’s horizontal strengths in pharma and life sciences, the firm has been competing head-on with the likes of Accenture and Cognizant in industry-specific process areas such as Clinical Data Management (CDM), Pharmacovigilence (PCV) and Commercial Services. These BPO/IT service providers also compete in these industry-specific processes with a specialized set of life sciences companies called Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) who include such brand names as Quintiles.
All of these offerings are designed to reduce operating costs for life sciences companies, in particular to address the single most important business outcome in the industry, which is increasing the likelihood that a new drug will come to market with increased speed and with greater commercial success. BPO service providers have been helping clients for years to reduce time to market through improving the efficacy of clinical trial information through CDM capabilities and in tracking the efficacy of new drugs and compounds including measuring their adverse effects through PCV but until recently they weren’t in a position to help clients bring those together with support for managing the regulatory environment under which new drugs are evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and other bodies.
Accenture took a gamble at bringing these services together when it purchased another regulatory consulting company Octagon Research Solutions (read analysis here) in August 2012 to get access to their regulatory management software and consulting skills and now Genpact appears to be following a similar path with today’s announcement. We know that service providers also looked at a third regulatory services company, Liquent prior to it being swallowed by a CRO, Parexel in January 2013.
Prior to their being acquired, all of these regulatory services firms primarily focused on software platforms and consulting services but both Accenture and now Genpact clearly believe that their life sciences clients are ready to move traditionally project based regulatory work into longer-term BPO arrangements. These arrangements will allow greater efficiencies in regulatory management and bring together CDM, PCV and regulatory services together with additional analytics services to have a meaningful impact on reducing regulatory times and bringing new blockbuster drugs to market sooner.
With this new model beginning to prove itself out with Accenture, we look forward to talking more with Genpact in the weeks ahead to see how they are going to create their own blockbuster compound of clinical data management, pharmacovigilence, commercial services and regulatory services in the life sciences BPO marketplace. We’ll be back with more insights and views on where this market is headed after that.