Salesforce Makes Push Into Life Sciences With QuintilesIMS Partnership

Life sciences giant QuintilesIMS inked an alliance with Salesforce.com to provide health care solutions based on the CRM leader's cloud platform.

health care IT

A new partnership agreement with Salesforce gives QuintilesIMS the ability to create solutions customized for pharmaceutical and other medical firms. The new offerings are expected to help medical firms develop treatments more efficiently, and more effectively manage clinical trials and patient recruitment.

The multiyear agreement between Salesforce and QuintilesIMS, a leading life sciences firm with over 50,000 employees, is non-exclusive and global. “We’re thrilled. QuintilesIMS is a giant purveyor of data in the prescription drug and life sciences space, and this agreement is further proof of the validity of the Salesforce platform,” Dr. Joshua Newman, chief medical officer at Salesforce, told eWEEK. “It’s so hard to get new drugs to market; this is a move to make the process swifter and more efficient.”

QuintilesIMS is initially expected to roll out several different services based on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

“We have been in the technology space for quite some time, and we’ve accumulated about 60 years of knowledge in health care, working with pharmaceutical companies, payers and providers. Getting a new drug to market is a long journey,” said Tal Rosenberg, senior vice president of Global Technology Solutions at QuintilesIMS. “We got to a point in the evolution in our business of asking how to accelerate this process of going from molecule to market, and that’s why we chose Salesforce.”

QuintilesIMS was formed through the merger of Quintiles Transnational and IMS Health in 2016. The combined firm offers products and services that span the range of clinical to commercial health care solutions.

Under the partnership agreement with Salesforce, QuintilesIMS will build applications on its platform and license them to customers. “I wouldn’t call it a reseller agreement because they add so much of their IP to the stack,” said Newman.

The initial services QuintilesIMS will offer are likely to be in the area of recruiting patients for clinical trials of new medications. “There is a ton of documentation and paperwork related to consent to participate and whether patients qualify,” said Newman.

While the Salesforce platform is typically seen as helping the sales process, Newman said many of the same processes apply to health care. “A lot of the marketing assets we offer are going to be of value to life sciences like patient recruitment and being able to measure the effectiveness of marketing and the post clinical trial follow-up,” he said. “These companies are trying to build strong relationships with their clients and deliver great drugs.”

Salesforce already works closely with industry leaders in health care and other industries such as financial services and retail. But while Salesforce has gained expertise in managing and negotiating these deals, each industry and the companies within have unique requirements.

“Do we have a template for how to do this? Yes and no,” said Newman. “Yes in the sense that we have agreements with many pharmaceutical companies and others so we know how to do these kinds of deals. Companies choose Salesforce because they see it’s a platform that’s working elsewhere. But no in the sense that every single organization is different; you can’t take a cookie cutter approach. It would be nice if we could just stamp these out, but you can’t, it’s complicated.”

Analyst R “Ray” Wang said health care companies can benefit from partnering with technology firms and ultimately patients benefit as well.

“The future of healthcare is at stake in a digital world. Patient success requires co-innovation and co-creation among industry leaders,” said Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, in a statement. “Only with this close level of partnership can true innovation emerge to transform patient outcomes.”

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...