Veeva makes progress in unifying clinical data resources

New product modules include medical coding and electronic data capture; a roadmap for the next few years points at more


To hear Veeva Systems, the IT and services company that revolutionized pharma salesforce automation over the past decade, tell it, the world of drug development is still mired in old practices that waste time and money; this despite the billions that have been spent on hundreds of one-off products for trial management (CTMS), master file documentation (TMF), clinical operations management and more. The company has already had some success in getting pharma companies to adopt its Vault eTMF and several related resources; now it is adding more modules and signaling where it is headed.

The overall goal, Veeva CEO Peter Gassner told attendees at the Veeva R&D Summit (Philadelphia, Sept. 17-18), is to unify all clinical information in the Veeva Vault Clinical Master Suite (already announced). Within the Suite, platforms are being built for a Clinical Data Management System (CDMS), and within CDMS, there are the newly announced Vault Coder (for medical terminology coding of trial data) and Vault EDC; a third component, Vault Data Workbench, is expected in 2019. CDMS, in turn, operates alongside Vault CTMS, Vault eTMF and Vault Study Startup. Besides being newly developed software platforms (all of which operate inside Amazon Web Services cloud), the platforms are designed both to exchange data with each other effortlessly, and to have open APIs to enable other software vendors to tie their systems into Veeva.

Taking on the entirety of clinical research via one provider (Veeva) is an ambitious goal, but according to Matt Wallach, Veeva president, the company’s success is based on being at the forefront of cloud technology. “There have been hosted or early cloud adoptions in clinical research,” he says, “but we started at a point where cloud technology had reached a certain level of maturity that we could build freshly from. Other vendors are struggling with adopting cloud technology.”

In his presentation, Gassner indicated that eventually, Veeva would take a hand in managing clinical data for pharma clients directly, and in aggregating clinical trial practices across companies to derive new insights to speed clinical trial development and business practices. Will the company bring all this off? Hard to say, but it can look on its success in pharma commercial operations, where some 650 companies are clients, as the model it is following.