In an anticipated move, Dassault Systèmes, a French enterprise IT firm (its better-known aviation business is a separate company) will acquire Medidata Solutions, at a 17% premium over the stock price it had before rumors began circulating this spring. Medidata is a leading provider of software for running clinical trials, including clinical trial management systems (CTMS), clinical outcomes assessment and overall data management. Dassault has been expanding for several years into life sciences, primarily through its Biovia platform for product life-cycle management and analysis; the Medidata acquisition would be its largest single acquisition ever, according to press reports.
“Our mission to get the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time has fueled our 20-year journey of innovation and commitment to the life sciences industry,” said Tarek Sherif, co-founder, chairman and CEO, Medidata. “We share common vision, values and passion with Dassault Systèmes, and our combined talents will empower the life sciences industry with an end-to-end business platform.”
Medidata reported revenues of around $640 million in its most recent fiscal year; Dassault is a $41-billion IT giant, with 11 business segments including life sciences. And most of that segment’s activity is focused on medical devices, so the challenge will be how well the Dassault management can keep its attention focused on pharma. This, in turn, will be of interest to Veeva Systems, which has emerged as a key player in cloud-based data management for clinical trials (its Vault system for data management is now a bigger business for it than the CRM business where it started). Medidata had sued Veeva in 2017, alleging poaching of Medidata employees who retained competitive information; as of last November, following the denial of a Veeva appeal, that litigation appears to be ongoing. However that slugfest plays out, the Medidata acquisitions signals the growing importance of life sciences and data management as a growth opportunity.