Oracle to pay $685 million for health care app firm

Tech giant signs a deal to acquire Phase Forward, which it will integrate into its two-year-old Health Sciences division.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Oracle is in a buying mood yet again and has signed a deal to purchase Phase Forward, a health care software maker.

The tech giant announced the acquisition on Friday in which it will pay around $685 million, or $17 a share, to merge publicly owned Phase Forward with its Health Sciences division.

Waltham, Mass.-based Phase Forward sells database applications to pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials and testing the safety of new drugs. The company's Integrated Clinical Research Suite is designed to manage the entire process from Phase 1 clinical trials through the request for regulatory approval as well as post-approval monitoring, said Oracle.

Phase Forward's global customers include major drug companies such as Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Serono, Novartis, and Schering-Plough Research Institute. The company also sells its products and services to regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Oracle said it expects Phase Forward's products, management, and employees to complement its own portfolio and people at Oracle Health Sciences, which was launched in 2008 to gain entry into the health care market. Last year, Oracle also acquired Relsys, another company that develops applications geared toward drug safety.

"The life sciences and health care industries are converging as they seek to control costs while accelerating patient-centered innovation," Neil de Crescenzo, general manager of Oracle Health Sciences, said in a statement. "Phase Forward brings outstanding products and employees with significant expertise to Oracle that will help enable the delivery of personalized medicine and value-based health care."

The deal is subject to stockholder and regulatory approval but is expected to close around the middle of this year.