Phase Forward buys GML

Deal strengthens Phase Forward’s Phase I clinical offerings

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WALTHAM, Mass.—Phase Forward, a provider of Web-based clinical trial data collection and management software and services, announced at the end of October it acquired Montpelier, Vt.-based Green Mountain Logic (GML), best known for its LabPas CT software which helps match laboratory samples with study subjects. The $5.25 million deal will help Phase Forward gain strength in providing products and services to companies involved in Phase I clinical trials while providing a broader sales opportunity for LabPas products.
According to Bob Weiler, president and CEO of Phase Forward, the acquisition of GML further strengthens the company's position in the electronic data capture (EDC) segment within clinical trials and further builds upon the company's E-clinical suite of products.
"[GML is] a major player in the market and we think the EDC market, according to figures from IDC, which is currently estimated at $45 million for 2007, will  increase to $120 million by 2010," says Weiler. "What we saw was the opportunity to be more integrated throughout clinical trials starting at Phase I and LabPas will help us do that."
In particular, GML will help Phase Forward continue one of its stated missions, which is to develop more and stronger relationships with CROs and AROs. Because LabPas is a well-known name in Phase I work, the strategy is to lock up customers from the start of clinical trials and be able to hold them as customers throughout subsequent clinical phases.
Prior to the deal, the companies did have an existing relationship based on creating a method for LabPas to pass its data to Phase Forward's Inform Integrated Trials Management (ITM) product, but this was no different than other existing deals Phase Forward had with other companies plying the Phase I waters.
Only now, of course, with LabPas owned by Phase Forward, the company can work to create an even tighter integration of it with the company's existing products. Weiler was clear, however, that clinicians using other software for Phase I studies need not worry. Phase Forward plans to continue working with the other companies to provide an easy hand-off of information to Inform.
For GML, the decision to sell has the familiar ring of a company with a good, perhaps even market-leading product, needing to find a way to get deeper penetration in their niche.
John Rosenblum, president and CEO of GML prior to the acquisition, says of the decision to sell: "We recognize strong synergies between the GML product line and Phase Forward's comprehensive electronic clinical data solutions. GML's Phase I customers are seeking better integration between quality Phase I data and established clinical data capture and management systems. By aligning these two product areas, Phase Forward is in a position to proactively address this emerging market trend. We are excited to be joining this market-leading company."
Rosenblum will remain with Phase Forward as a vice president responsible for the continued development of GML's products. In addition, the bulk of GML's nearly 20 employees are expected to stay with the company as it continues to operate from its Vermont offices.
While the total dollar amount of the deal may not be earth shattering, it is important, nonetheless to both companies, as Phase Forward gets ownership to a market-leading product, and GML gets broader access to the market through Phase Forward's sales channel.
This likely isn't the last acquisition you'll hear about from Phase Forward. According to Weiler, the company has identified 19 separate areas of interest where it can strengthen its business. And with $189 million in cash in the company's coffers, it is prepared to act again when the next opportunity arises. u
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