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Bye-bye QuintilesIMS; hello IQVIA

New identity stresses ‘human data science’


A year after the pathbreaking merger of the leading healthcare data company and a leading contract research organization, the combined entity has completed the merging of its business units, at least in terms of branding. Going forward, QuintilesIMS will be known as IQVIA (also with a new ticker symbol, IQV). The company describes itself as “dedicated to using analytics and science to help healthcare stakeholders find better solutions for their patients” (which kind of fudges the vitally important sales and marketing support that QuintilesIMS provides to pharma).

Along with the IQVIA announcement, the company is also putting forward a comprehensive platform for managing drug data “from molecule to market,” as the saying goes. IQVIA Core incorporates the “world’s largest curated healthcare information source,” along with analytics technologies and proprietary software. And as an underlying theme, IQVIA Core is to unify three types of life sciences activity: gathering data on humans (i.e., clinical trials; outcomes); analytics on that data; and scientific knowledge (presumably leading to new drugs and better therapies). IQVIA styles this as a new discipline, “human data science.”

On a more mundane running-the-business level, IQVIA will be challenged to continue to act as both a leading data provider, and a leading provider of software to analyze that data; there are competitors that specialize in one or the other. It is also positioning Core as a platform that can be customized to each client’s interests—even, presumably, direct competitors of each other. Another challenge is to maintain what appears to be healthy growth serving both the life sciences industry, and the payer community, and the provider community—three groups seldom having common business interests.

A week before the IQVIA announcement, QuintilesIMS released Q3 data: quarterly revenue of $2.019 billion, up 4.8% YOY, and nine-months revenue of $5.899 billion, up 2.1% YOY, and adjusted EBITDA of $1.465 billion. Interestingly, the company has maintained a share-repurchasing pace of $3.3 billion since the merger that continued through the third quarter, while its net debt is $8.697 billion.