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Oracle Closes goBalto Acquisition; Invests In Study Startup R&D



By Allison Proffitt

February 13, 2019 | In October, Oracle announced that it was buying goBalto and the company’s end-to-end site startup platform for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is now closed.

“Oracle is very excited to bring goBalto into the Health Science Global Business Unit,” Steve Rosenberg, SVP and GM of Oracle Health Sciences, told Clinical Research News yesterday. “One of the areas that’s starting to get a lot of traction is the startup of clinical studies. It’s a multi-faceted problem that needs to be solved, but a very operationally oriented one.”

Study startup is generally “white space” within the clinical trials solution landscape, Rosenberg said. “We have a CTMS product, obviously, and with the CTMS you could record some activities, but what we didn’t have—and what the market doesn’t really have out there—was all the workflows and processes to do proper site selection and also all the workflow to actually get all the documents completed and all the steps completed to actually get a site activated. That’s a gap in our platform, and now it’s been filled by goBalto.”

The acquisition of goBalto gives Oracle an end-to-end clinical trials pipeline, Rosenberg said.

Oracle’s acquisition of goBalto retains all goBalto staff, Sujay Jadhav, CEO at goBalto, and now vice president at Oracle Health Sciences told Clinical Research News. Jadhav will run the Oracle Health Science study startup group. GoBalto staff previously located in the San Francisco office will move to Oracle’s San Francisco office; staff based in goBalto’s King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, office will move to the Oracle office in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Customers will notice even less disruption. Jadhav says goBalto has “coexisted with the Oracle suite” for years now, and Rosenberg pointed out that many existing goBalto customers use Oracle products at other points in the clinical trial pipeline. Both expects a seamless transition for all existing customers. GoBalto’s product will still be sold independently, Rosenberg confirmed.

GoBalto’s iconic brand—named for Balto, a Siberian husky who led a sled dog team on the final leg of the 1925 push to deliver drugs to stop a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska—is not yet going anywhere. GoBalto does have excellent name recognition, Rosenberg acknowledged.

“Oracle is possibly the worst company at naming products,” he joked. “I’m sure we’ll give it a completely impossible acronym that will be its official name. But in conversations and documents and press releases, we’re using the name goBalto for now.”

A good thing, since Jadhav is planning to have live husky puppies at the Oracle booth at SCOPE next week.

What’s Next For GoBalto

Now leading Oracle Health Science’s Study Startup Group, Jadhav says the biggest advantage for goBalto is increased investment in its products.

“What we found very attractive around this was not just automating the end-to-end clinical trial process, but starting to deliver on some of the new models and approaches out there in the clinical trial space: eventually moving into supporting hybrid, siteless trials, and some of the other concepts out there,” Jadhav told us.

“We had a road map for both core process applications: Select and Activate. We’re using this as an opportunity to accelerate our roadmap. Oracle is actually adding increased investment in the R&D and product side of the house.”

The goBalto team will also be digging into newer business models including site selection leveraging real world evidence data, integrating real world data sources into improving site selection.

“Our Select product is a pretty robust product. It aggregates different types of performance data across different sites to allow you—in a Yelp-like fashion—to choose the right site for that particular study. That’s an area that we’re going to increase the data sources in the RWE space. There’s be increased investment in that area,” Jadhav said.

The acquisition wasn’t just an add-on revenue stream, Rosenberg emphasized.

“The whole thesis behind us acquiring goBalto was one of investment. We saw an opportunity for growth; goBalto is clearly the leader,” Rosenberg said. “The challenge is to maintain that lead so as competition starts to go after this space they can’t catch us. Invest in innovation and invest in product features and functions as well as invest in marketing and sales.”

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