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Edited Transcript of IQV.N earnings conference call or presentation 24-Jul-19 1:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 IQVIA Holdings Inc Earnings Call

DURHAM Oct 9, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Iqvia Holdings Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Andrew Markwick

IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR

* Ari Bousbib

IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO

* Michael R. McDonnell

IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander Yearley Draper

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research

* Daniel Gregory Brennan

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst of Healthcare Life Sciences

* Erin Elizabeth Wilson Wright

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Jack Meehan

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst

* John Charles Kreger

William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner & Healthcare Services Analyst

* Rivka Regina Goldwasser

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD

* Robert Patrick Jones

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP

* Ross Jordan Muken

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD, Head of Healthcare Services & Technology and Fundamental Research Analyst

* Shlomo H. Rosenbaum

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD

* Tycho W. Peterson

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the IQVIA Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Andrew Markwick, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasury. Please go ahead.

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [2]

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Thank you, Jennifer. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our second quarter 2019 earnings call. With me today are Ari Bousbib, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Michael McDonnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Eric Sherbet, Executive Vice President and General Counsel; Nick Childs, Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis; and Jen Halchak, Senior Director, Investor Relations.

Today, we will be referencing a presentation that will be visible during this call for those of you on our webcast. This presentation will also be available following this call on our Events & Presentations section of the IQVIA Investor Relations website at ir.iqvia.com.

Before we begin, I would like to caution listeners that certain information discussed by management during this conference call will include forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied by forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties associated with the company's business, which are discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent SEC filings.

In addition, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures on this call, which should be considered a supplement to and not a substitute for financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to comparable GAAP measures is included in the press release and conference call presentation.

I would now like to turn the call over to our Chairman and CEO, Ari Bousbib.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [3]

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Thank you, Andrew, and good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us on our second quarter '19 earnings call. It was great to see you all at our Analyst and Investor Conference just last month. As you recall, the objective of the event was to take stock of our progress since the merger, which was almost 3 years ago, and to lay out the path forward to 2022. We are all very proud of the unique company that has been created from this merger.

Turning to our Q2 earnings release. This quarter was largely a repeat of the first quarter, with continued strong momentum and similar outstanding financial and operational performance. Once again, both revenue and earnings came in above our guidance ranges.

Second quarter revenue of $2.740 billion came in above our guidance range, resulting in constant currency revenue growth of 8.5%. From a segment perspective, Technology & Analytics Solutions revenue grew 11.4% at constant currency, and organic growth was the same as last quarter, about 7%. This strong performance was again driven by solid double-digit growth in our real-world and technology businesses.

R&D Solutions revenue grew 7.5% at constant currency. Excluding pass-through, constant currency growth was 8.8%, with acquisitions contributing about 150 basis points to R&D revenue growth. Again, similar to last quarter, organic constant currency growth was over 7%.

As you recall, we said Contract Sales & Medical Solutions will return to growth in the second half of 2019 with the objective of flat revenue year-over-year. I am pleased to report that the CSMS business has turned the corner in the second quarter, growing 1% on a constant currency basis.

Second quarter adjusted EBITDA of $578 million was towards the high end of our guidance range. Adjusted diluted EPS of $1.53 was above the high end of our guidance range and grew 18.6%.

I'll provide a brief update on our business in technology, first. OCE continues to gain traction in the market and there is a tremendous amount of excitement from clients and prospects about our revolutionary solution. So far in 2019, our technology team has won over 20 new OCE engagements, resulting in over 50 OCE wins since the SaaS offering was launched just 18 months ago.

You saw that orchestrated analytics for OCE was launched in April. This is an important enhancement to the platform, which leverages AI and machine learning to identify and recommend next best actions to the sales reps. This is a level of insight that surpasses any capabilities that are available in the market today.

Turning to real-world. This quarter, the team was awarded a large contract with a consortium of life science companies to demonstrate the long-term safety for a certain kind of agent that is used in a common procedure. This research was mandated by the FDA, and the choice of IQVIA as the consortium's partner in this important study demonstrates our leadership in this area. In addition, our clients are increasingly looking for a partner in the real-world space. During the quarter, we were named a preferred provider for a large pharma company. This award includes more than 20 real-world engagements over the next 5 years and covers all regional studies, which will implement a new hybrid outsourcing model, combining both in-sourced and outsourced services. Our capabilities in both prospective research and advanced machine learning-based predictive analytics really set us apart from the competition.

Moving to R&D. The team continued their momentum with another strong quarter of net new business. Backlog of over $18 billion grew almost 15% year-over-year. Our bookings growth and book-to-bill ratios remain robust. And whatever way you look at it, we had another great quarter for R&D bookings. For the quarter, our book-to-bill on an as-contracted 606 basis, that is including pass-throughs, was 1.59. Excluding pass-throughs, our book-to-bill was 1.35 for the quarter. Looking at the last 12 months, our book-to-bill on an as-contracted 606 basis was 1.41. Excluding pass-throughs, the book-to-bill is still at 1.50 on an LTM service basis.

In addition, the R&D team secured another record quarter of over $800 million of CORE-powered gross new business awards, which excludes pass-throughs associated with these bookings. We now have over $5.1 billion in CORE-powered SMART trial awards since launch, again, that is excluding pass-throughs.

Finally, I'd like to recognize the work of our management team to turn around the Contract Sales business. We are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts with the stabilization of that business and even a return to modest growth.

In sum, we have a very, very strong quarter across all our businesses. And now, Mike will review the financials in more detail.

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Ari, and good morning, everyone. As you have seen, we had another solid quarter. Let's turn first to revenue.

Second quarter revenue of $2.740 billion grew 6.7% reported and 8.5% at constant currency. First half revenue of $5.424 billion grew 5.7% reported and 7.8% at constant currency.

Second quarter Technology & Analytics Solutions revenue of $1.102 billion grew 9% reported and 11.4% at constant currency. Technology & Analytics Solutions first half revenue of $2.177 billion grew 9.1% reported and 12.1% at constant currency.

R&D Solutions second quarter revenue of $1.435 billion grew 6.3% at actual FX rates and 7.5% at constant currency. First half R&D Solutions revenue of $2.851 billion grew 5% at actual FX rates and 6.4% at constant currency.

Second quarter Contract Sales & Medical Solutions revenue of $203 million declined 1.5% reported and grew 1% at constant currency. As Ari mentioned, we expected this business to transition to growth as the year progresses after several years of decline. Contract Sales & Medical Solutions first half revenue was $396 million, declined 5.5% at actual FX rates and 3.1% at constant currency.

Turning now to profit. Adjusted EBITDA was $578 million for the second quarter and $1.165 billion for the first half of 2019. Second quarter GAAP net income was $60 million, and GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.30. First half GAAP net income was $118 million and GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.59.

Adjusted net income was $306 million for the second quarter and $615 million for the first half of the year. Second quarter adjusted diluted earnings per share grew 18.6% year-over-year to $1.53. First half adjusted diluted earnings per share of $3.06 grew 16.3%.

Let's now turn to R&D Solutions backlog. Closing backlog at June 30, 2019, was $18.03 billion, and the amount of backlog that we expect to convert to revenue over the next 12 months is approximately $4.9 billion. Let's now review the balance sheet.

At June 30, cash and cash equivalents totaled $938 million and debt was $11.399 billion, resulting in net debt of $10.461 billion. Our net leverage ratio was 4.5x our trailing 12-month adjusted EBITDA.

Cash flow from operating activities was $391 million in the second quarter. CapEx was $155 million and free cash flow was $236 million. We repurchased $236 million of our stock during the second quarter at an average price of $134.65.

Let's now turn to 2019 guidance. We are raising our full year 2019 revenue guidance from between $10.900 billion and $11.125 billion to now be between $11 billion and $11.150 billion. This guidance assumes the same FX headwind that was built into our previous guidance of about 100 basis points. This update to our revenue guidance range is mainly driven by our year-to-date organic performance in Technology & Analytics Solutions and a strong organic outlook in this segment for the rest of the year.

We are affirming our adjusted EBITDA guidance at the midpoint of the range and tightening the range by $10 million on both ends as we now have more visibility. The new range is $2.385 billion to $2.415 billion. We are also raising our adjusted diluted EPS guidance by $0.05, so the range moves from between $6.20 to $6.40 to between $6.25 and $6.45.

Please note that for the below-the-line items, depreciation is tracking a bit lower than expected and interest a bit higher, essentially offsetting each other. We now expect depreciation to be about $300 million and interest about $450 million for the year.

The adjusted book tax rate is always lumpy quarter-to-quarter, but we are still on a trend of about 22% for the year. Depending on tax efficiencies, we could see favorability to that number of at least 0.5 point. The adjusted cash tax rate is still expected to be about 15% for the year. The guidance provided assumes that foreign currency rates at June 30 remain in effect for the rest of 2019.

As in prior quarters, we are also providing guidance for the coming quarter. For the third quarter, assuming foreign currency remains at June 30 rates through the end of the third quarter, we expect revenue to be between $2.730 billion and $2.780 billion; adjusted EBITDA to be between $580 million and $595 million and adjusted diluted EPS to be between $1.53 and $1.59.

Please note, based on the tax rate guidance I just mentioned, we do expect third quarter adjusted book tax rate to be about the same as Q2, but then we expect it will ramp in the fourth quarter, resulting in a full year tax rate guidance that I just discussed. Year-to-date, this guidance represents revenue growth of 5.6% to 6.2%, adjusted EBITDA growth of 6.3% to 7.3%, and adjusted diluted EPS growth of 13.3% to 14.8%.

So in summary, we delivered second quarter result above or at the high end of our guidance ranges; Technology & Analytics Solutions and R&D Solutions sustained their strong momentum; CSMS continued to improve; OCE now has over 50 wins, with 20 added so far this year; the R&D team secured another record quarter of CORE-powered gross new business wins of over $800 million; the book-to-bill ratio, including pass-throughs, was 1.59x for the quarter; the LTM book-to-bill, excluding pass-throughs, was 1.50x; and we have raised our revenue and earnings guidance for the year.

With that, let me hand it back to the operator, and we could open things for Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Robert Jones with Goldman Sachs.

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Robert Patrick Jones, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP [2]

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I guess just 2 quick ones on R&DS. Ari clearly mentioned the strength there, evidence in all of the results and metrics you shared. You did grow backlog at an accelerated rate off of what appeared to be a fairly difficult comp. So it might just be across the board, but I'm curious if there's anything to parse out of maybe where you saw incremental strength in this quarter across bookings relative to where you had been trending. And then just one housekeeping question. I know you guys removed a large bit cancellation last quarter from backlog, but I was curious if you would be willing to share how much of that continued to show up in revenue in the quarter.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [3]

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Okay. Let me just address the second part. Very little, okay, so negligible. So this is behind us, essentially. Whether it's in the bookings numbers or in the revenue number is just out. The first question you asked was, what, the color around on the bookings. I would say we had an exceptionally strong bookings quarter and you might have noted a little disconnect on the book-to-bills other than the fact that it just comes to show that what we've been saying forever, which is don't rely on book-to-bill ratios and don't use them to compare across the board because there are so many variables that affect that fraction.

So you noted we reported 1.59 book-to-bill on a 606 basis, which is extremely strong, and excluding pass-through is 1.35, which is also extremely strong on a services basis. And the reason for the disconnect, if you will, is a mix issue. If we had the same proportion of core clinical, FSP, lab and other type of work, then you would have the exact same proportion of pass-throughs.

We've said before, and I want to repeat it here for clarification, core clinical bookings, which are the most attractive portion of our business, as you know, they are higher margins, they are the whole suite of services, typically come in with more pass-throughs. So what this indicates to you here with this very strong 1.59 number is that the proportion, the relative proportion in the mix of bookings in the whole of core clinical is significantly higher than it has been on a normalized basis historically. That's very good news. It is higher-quality bookings.

Now it happens to be the fraction is higher because the revenue, which is the denominator in the quarter, is still suffering from headwind from pass-throughs. So you've got 2 things going on here. You have higher-quality bookings with a higher mix relative to normal of core clinical bookings. And you have relatively less pass-throughs on the revenue in the denominator because we're still executing now historic bookings, which were a lower mix of core clinical. And as result of which, you've got still a headwind because of a decline of pass-throughs year-over-year. I hope that's clear. And again, the reverse trend on the -- when you do the LTM, again, you would see the same explanation. I'm just giving this expanded explanation because I want to: a, show that be careful when you're given a book-to-bill ratio, there's a lot underneath; and number two, in our case, we chose to give you everything this quarter, hopefully to convey to you how strong the bookings are, not just on the dollar number, but also, as I just explained, in terms of the quality and the mix. Included in this mix, of course, is the very much higher proportion of CORE-powered SMART clinical trials, all of which are CORE and all of which come with a lot of pass-throughs because again, they are all-encompassing sets of services. I hope that gives you the kind of color you were looking and even more. Thank you, Bob, and maybe we can go to the next question.

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Operator [4]

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Our next question comes from the line of Ross Muken, Evercore ISI.

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Ross Jordan Muken, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD, Head of Healthcare Services & Technology and Fundamental Research Analyst [5]

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Congrats. Maybe on the TAS business, on the tech business. You gave us some good color on OCE. Obviously, that continues to have momentum. It feels like, in general, there's a number of other parts kind of contributing in kind of the SaaS-based part of the business, the kind of the overall growth rate being elevated. And it seems like also some of the M&A you brought in over the years obviously helping to accelerate growth there. Just maybe give us a feel for outside of just OCE contributing some of the other pieces that are helping that business get to kind of high single-digit growth, which obviously is a material acceleration of where you've been.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [6]

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Yes. Well, thank you for the question, Ross. Yes, you are correct. OCE is not exactly contributing a huge amount here because, as you know, the wins have just been occurring over the past 18 months and we are largely in implementation phase, we're not yet generating the attractive license SaaS revenues associated with those deployments. We're more in implementation phase for most of those, and so that's to come.

So there's a suite of products that contributed strongly to generating this 7% organic -- continued 7% organic growth rate on TAS. As you know, we said at our analyst meeting and I'm saying it again here, this business, roughly, you can think of it as 3 portions: 1/3 is our traditional data business, and that business, essentially, you can assume growth at nothing, 0, flat; 1/3 is services businesses, outsourcing businesses, essentially, time- and labor-based type of economic model, and that grows mid-single digits; and then you have got 1/3 of those businesses that are plus a little bit more now, almost 40%, that are the double-digit high growers. And those are technology services, that include a suite of products we talked about at the investor conference, including safety, compliance, pharmacovigilance, some of the clinical products that we have introduced a clinical technology suite. So all of those are contributing to very strong double-digit growth in our technology portfolio.

And then, of course, you've got the real-world business, which is very strong. As I mentioned in my introductory commentary, this is really the future. This is where we're seeing going towards personalized medicine, towards being able to anticipate diagnoses earlier with a lot more AI and machine learning and predictive analytics that, hopefully, we can get to a point that we are seeing this already in certain therapies where we can anticipate that someone will be diagnosed with a specific disease, and we hope to talk some more about this in the future. But this is really what everyone has been striving for. We've said before, we have the tools, we have the assets, we have the people and the technology to bring it together. And this is why we've been growing very strong double digits. So that's really what's going on in that segment and that is supporting our 7% continued organic growth rate.

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Ross Jordan Muken, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD, Head of Healthcare Services & Technology and Fundamental Research Analyst [7]

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Very helpful. And maybe just going back to a question prior on the R&D business. I mean it feels like, you've obviously had several quarters in a row of superior bookings. It's quite clear you're gaining share, but you're also continuing to invest in the business. You see it in the CapEx line in terms of software CapEx and then in all of the sort of efforts you outlined at the Analyst Day and many of those tools. I guess as you think about sort of your advantage versus the peer group continuing to kind of increase, how are you thinking about the realization of that at the customer side? Like in terms of them continuing to see you have more and more progress. I would think at some point, there's sort of a watershed event where a continued larger proportion of customers start coming to you and asking about tools as opposed to you having to push some of the next-gen offerings out to them on the market. Like how far do you think we are from that place where that sustainable, sizable advantage becomes kind of clear to the customers?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [8]

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Again, I think in terms of the runway ahead of us, we are extremely optimistic. We -- in terms of the specific SMART trials technology, I mean, we're just, I don't know, second or third inning at best. We've got ways to go. Look, we have somewhere around 50 pharma customers that have bought these solutions on the R&D side, 175 biotech customers. We've got 12 of the top 20 pharma doing work there, 5 previously locked account that have been unlocked. So there is a lot of potential left, we've got thousands of clients. We have ways to go, and I think we've got great runway. Thank you, Ross. Let's go to the next question.

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Operator [9]

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Our next question comes from the line of Ricky Goldwasser with Morgan Stanley.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [10]

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Okay, next question.

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Operator [11]

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Our next question comes from the line of Tycho Peterson with JPMorgan.

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Tycho W. Peterson, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [12]

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I want to ask about the EBITDA outlook given that it's unchanged. Given that CORE is higher margin and a higher proportion, shouldn't we see a bit of a tailwind going down the road? Just curious why EBITDA margins aren't being increased if the revenue guidance increased.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [13]

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Yes. Thank you. Down the road is right. Again, when we set our technology solutions, we've got a significant sales of implementation deployments in the field. That typically has essentially no margin, so that's a headwind. Secondly, we've got investments that we're making. Obviously, software development, a significant portion is capitalized, but we still have extra costs that are in the P&L, in our margin, so that's a headwind as well.

We've got our investments that we're making and continue to make in business development, higher-cost resources in order to take all of our technology solutions to market, whether -- by the way it's also true in R&DS. We just spoke a moment ago on the prior question about our runway for our SMART trials. And while we would love to be, as Ross was suggesting, in a position where we are just sitting and clients are coming knocking at the door, we are not quite there yet. This is not the world we live in. It's still a very highly competitive marketplace and we need to bring these solutions to market.

You all have been -- become very familiar with our capabilities and what we believe is our unique competitive advantages. But we still have to -- believe it or not, not every client in the world knows about this or is aware of the capabilities, and these are long-cycle selling efforts. People don't buy OCE just on a whim or because they saw an ad at a bus stop. The clinical trial is a long selling process and so we do need business development resources. That's an investment as well. All of that is headwind to margins.

So in terms of the investments, OCE is a big area of investment. OCT is a big area of investment, SMART trial automation, Virtual Trials. We get more and more data scientists, software deployment teams, all of those are headwinds. And again, I'll remind you, we live in a, at least in the U.S., in a full employment economies so there is wage inflation.

All of those are headwinds to our EBITDA margins. And frankly, it's great performance that we are able to do that and still generate the margins that we're generating. And that's because we continue with the programs of cost containment. And we are and continue to be committed to margin expansion. During the year, in particular, in '19, our investments are more first half-weighted. And we expect to see the majority of adjusted EBITDA growth and margin expansion towards the back end of the year.

And by the way, that has been the case consistently. If you look back at the pattern in prior years, typically, we've got a nice ramp first and second quarter. We did have a lull in the third quarter. That's kind of -- I don't know, a lot of reasons for it, but that's typically what happens. And then we have more of a ramp, more of a hockey stick, if you will, in the fourth quarter. But we've done it before, if you go back and check, and so we feel confident about that. That's why we beat first half adjusted diluted EPS, so there is less of a ramp in Q3. And then we raised our full year adjusted diluted EPS guidance by $0.05, and that's -- we're expecting to see most of that upside in the fourth quarter, including on our EBITDA margin. Thank you, next question.

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Tycho W. Peterson, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [14]

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And then one follow-up. Can you comment on emerging biopharma? How were awards in the quarter? And how are your efforts going -- to go after this mid-cap biopharma -- biotech customer base?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [15]

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Yes. The environment continues -- as far as we can tell, seems to be very strong. There is no change to the funding environment in terms of the biotech funding. Venture funding, according to National Venture Capital Association through the end of Q2, is running about level with last year's annual rate, which, as you know, was exceptional and strong and a record year. Year-to-date, in terms of the value for us, it's like $11 billion or so. We did 729 deals so far, so we...

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [16]

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That's market -- that's a market information.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [17]

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That is a market information. Yes, yes, sorry. And then we -- I think it's about 50-50. Can you confirm that, the numbers before?

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [18]

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Yes. So bookings in the quarter for EBP versus larger about 50-50. I think very soon after the merger, we saw a lot of upside from emerging biopharma. And I think our CORE-powered awards now are really getting more funds and lot of the growth is coming from larger or midsized clients. But as Ari said, the environment is very healthy, and we're still seeing good demand across the emerging biopharma space.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [19]

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Essentially, it was -- the awards were 50-50, large pharma and EBP. Yes, correct. Okay. Thanks.

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Operator [20]

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Our next question comes from the line of Ricky Goldwasser with Morgan Stanley.

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Rivka Regina Goldwasser, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [21]

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So a question on the bookings. To your earlier point, the bookings is composed actually of higher-quality business. So can you just kind of like remind us what type of margin the -- is associated with these bookings versus enterprise? And also, kind of like how should we think about the time line or the lag between when you record a booking and when we see the impacts on margin, kind of like that margin expansion?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [22]

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Yes. So your first question, I'm not going to answer. It's a nice try, though. We're not giving you margin profile. That's highly sensitive and competitive information. So we're not giving margin profiles, but it's just a fact, it's an acknowledged -- it's just a fact that lowest margin is for FSP, which is -- we provide a lot of CRAs and maybe a little bit of value. But essentially, it's the lowest margin in our -- general, in the CRO marketplace. You've got the lab business, which has maybe a little bit higher margin, but not that much. You've got the stats business and the data science. And really, the higher-margin business, the one everyone is after is what we call core clinical, which is essentially the full outsourcing of the full clinical trials, that includes all of the above. And that's obviously because it includes the higher value-added activities in a clinical trial, by definition, have higher margins and relatively lower labor content on the total mix of revenue. So that's the background for why it's higher margin. So the second question, when does that happen. As you know, it takes time to activate the sites and to start trials. So, usually, you get to the peak activity within 18 months to 2 years of the start of the trial. That's when you get to peak revenue and margin realization.

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Rivka Regina Goldwasser, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [23]

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So very much in line with your guidance?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [24]

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And of course, when you close out the trial, which really is 3 to 4 years into the trial. Okay?

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Rivka Regina Goldwasser, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [25]

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Yes. So very much in line with the long-term guidance that you provided at Analyst Day, looks like that it's more back-end loaded?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [26]

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Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you.

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Operator [27]

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Our next question comes from the line of Shlomo Rosenbaum with Stifel.

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Shlomo H. Rosenbaum, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD [28]

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Can you talk a little bit about -- you updated the OCE contracts, can you talk about how many of them were competitive takeaways and what your kind of competitive win rate is recently? And has it changed or -- over the last quarter, last 6 months, last 18 months with some of the -- with the OCE launch?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [29]

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Yes. I mean, look, every situation is a competitive situation. We're competing with the same set of characters on every single one and every client looks at the same solutions that are in the marketplace. Our win rate somewhere stabilized around 2/3 of those 60 to 2/3 of the competition that we participate in. So that's right, Andrew, I believe, sort of call.

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [30]

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Historically, let's say we probably would have won 1 in 3 and now 2 in 3, yes.

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Operator [31]

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Our next question comes from the line of Jack Meehan with Barclays.

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Jack Meehan, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [32]

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I was hoping maybe just a little bit more color on the pacing of the revenue recognition related to some of the OCE deployments. And I guess what I'm trying to get to is if you look at the organic growth in TAS, it was 7% the last couple of quarters. Do you think this is actually something that should be stepping up as we go into year-end? How should we be thinking about that?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [33]

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Well, look, we want to continue selling strongly as we can. And so you will always have layers of new OCE deployments and other technology solution deployments. As we told you, the increase in our full year revenue guidance is mainly driven by our year-to-date organic performance in Technology & Analytics Solution. And of course, we continue to see a strong organic outlook in this segment for the rest of the year. I wouldn't assume 7% is the new constant currency organic run rate, but we are definitely inching towards sustainable high single-digit organic growth in this segment. And we provided you with guidance a month ago for the next 3 years in terms of -- and then we expect these to be accelerating towards the double-digit type of rates in -- towards the end of the -- of that 3-year period, meaning towards the end of 2022.

And if you step back and you look at our businesses and what we've been doing since the merger, there was an integration phase, which we thought would be 3 years. It turned out to be only 2 years or a little bit more than 2 years. We're now in a -- at an inflection point where we're seeing acceleration of our top line. And we hope to sustain and increase that acceleration over the next 3-year period. And then our expectation is that we will then get to a level of scale and market penetration that will enable us to, hopefully -- I wouldn't even say that we, in this conference, I'll say now, our goal is certainly to be double-digit territory when we get to the end of that period across the businesses.

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Jack Meehan, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [34]

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Mike, I had one quick follow-up. Is there any color you can give just on the pass-throughs in the back half? I know -- for R&D, I know it's been a little bit of a headwind the last couple of quarters. Do you expect that to persist or could it actually flip? Any color would be great.

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [35]

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Yes. No, I think that the pass-through headwinds are lumpy. We talked about, in the first quarter, it was over 300 basis points. Second quarter was maybe roughly half that. And I think that, overall, what we're seeing in R&D assets pass-through headwind for the year a little bit higher than what we originally anticipated, with M&A roughly offsetting that. So we're all -- we're kind of thinking about the same place.

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [36]

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So I agree with what Mike just said there. I think it is lumpy as we go through the year. We told you 100 basis points is embedded in our full year guidance. Maybe it's a little bit more than that now, but I mean, we're giving you our best estimate that we're seeing right now.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [37]

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Okay?

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Operator [38]

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Our next question comes from the line of Dan Brennan with UBS.

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Daniel Gregory Brennan, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst of Healthcare Life Sciences [39]

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I joined a few minutes late. I'm just wondering, Ari, Mike, for the guidance for the rest of the year organically, was anything updated there? And can you just kind of clarify that?

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [40]

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Yes, I mean, Ari just mentioned in one of the other questions, Dan, I think, really, we're seeing organic strength in the TAS segment right now. We've come out at 7% in Q1, 7% in Q2. So a lot of our full year guidance range is due to that organic strength that we're seeing in the Technology & Analytics Solutions business. I don't think 7% is probably the new run rate for the rest of the year but it's definitely inching towards that high single-digit organic growth business. So we're pleased the range went up by $100 million at the low end, $25 million at the high end, and we're definitely seeing strength across the board.

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Daniel Gregory Brennan, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst of Healthcare Life Sciences [41]

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And then on the R&D side, similarly, I apologize, but like anything changed there from an organic basis how you're thinking about the back half?

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [42]

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No change to what we said before. We're still kind of tracking to our expectations for the year.

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Daniel Gregory Brennan, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst of Healthcare Life Sciences [43]

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Got it. Okay. And then I know earlier in the conversation, Ari, you were discussing again some of the kind of NextGen trends. Could you just remind us, and I know the Analyst Day was only a month or so ago, like what percent of your clients have actually seen NextGen today and kind of how would you characterize your win rate on NextGen offering versus your non-NextGen offering?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [44]

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Yes, again, we continued the trend that you saw a month -- that we discussed a month ago. And I just mentioned, I guess before you joined the call, some of those numbers. We continue to bring this to market and we have a total, I guess...

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [45]

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We have 8,000 clients across the enterprise.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [46]

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Yes. Yes. We have 8,000 clients, plus, and only I guess 200 and maybe a little bit less than 250 are active customers now with our NextGen solution, our SMART trial solution, so we continue the momentum and there's a lot of runway ahead of us. But I mentioned this before, so I'm sure you'll get all those numbers. Thank you.

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Operator [47]

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Our next question comes from the line of Sandy Draper with SunTrust.

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Alexander Yearley Draper, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [48]

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Most of my operational questions have been asked, so maybe just a quick one for Mike. When you think about the step-up in the interest looks, obviously, the debt is going up. I don't know, just remind me in terms of floating rate, if we continue to see a lower interest rate environment, at some point, does that start to offset? And then just sort of thoughts about managing -- because cash flow is obviously better this quarter when we think about balance of this year and into next year, how you guys have been thinking about buying back stock versus -- and using debt to do that, just trying to understand more so the nuances of the capital structure.

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Michael R. McDonnell, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [49]

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Sure, Sandy. So the first question, we have very little exposure to rate variances. We've got -- effectively when you look at our fixed versus variable rate mix on a service, it's about 50-50. But when you look at the swaps and the caps and the collars, all those other pieces, effectively we're about 80% fixed. So to put it in context, a 25 basis point rate hike is like $6 million. It's very, very kind of insensitive to rate movement. So I think that very little exposure to rate movements. Overall, we continue to see our stock as a very good investment. We've still got a significant amount of share buyback authorization, as you saw in our earnings release, and we'll continue to be a buyer of our stock. In terms of debt levels, we ended the quarter at 4.5x, which is right in the sweet spot of where we said we would be. And as we said at our investor conference, we expect to come down over time, exiting 2022, with more like 3.5 to 4. So we still are in very much the same place and are going to continue to manage the balance sheet, as we've said.

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Operator [50]

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Our next question comes from the line of Erin Wright with Crédit Suisse.

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Erin Elizabeth Wilson Wright, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Research Analyst [51]

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You mentioned the new real-world preferred partnership, how should we think about the contributions from a win like this in the real-world space? And should this contribute more meaningfully over time? And what was the genesis of the relationship? How much of it was a function of what you have in terms of the global data assets? Or was this a customer that you were working with previously maybe from a NextGen perspective? And then, I guess, I have a second question just on cost cutting. You've obviously been very diligent there. During your Investor Day, you highlighted as part of Vision 2022 kind of the next wave of cost cutting. I think you mentioned that you are still identifying some of the key initiatives there and the progression thereon in terms of the cost savings. I guess what have you identified thus far? And how should we be thinking about the progression of the next wave from a cost-cutting standpoint?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [52]

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Yes. Thank you, Erin. I guess on the real-world side, I'll just repeat what we've been saying before, we've got the unique types of capabilities. We spoke at length about the human data science cloud and the infrastructure we've built, which is really what allows data to be consumed. This is a critical issue in health care and the most vexing problem that many companies have been confronting.

Even assuming you could source all the data that's required, the scale that's required, and again, I want to remind you, no one comes close even at a fraction level in terms of the scope, depth, granularity and global coverage. But it's the linking of that -- those data assets, the interoperability of those data assets and the work that we do from a technology standpoint to be able to mine and utilize and consume those analytics and then the technology layer of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics that's required. So it's a combination of those assets, again, with the unmatched therapeutic expertise that our company can bring forward in any engagement.

I'll remind you, we run -- we're running more than 2,500 trials, clinical trials. There's just no one in the world that has that kind of therapeutic coverage and scale on a global level. If you combine all of those assets, and we spend a bulk of our time over the past years integrating these assets and developing solutions that are push-of-a-button type of analytics, and that's kind of very unique. And so we were the obvious partner here for this consortium of pharma.

This is an agent that is very commonly used in a very common procedure that, I think, every one of us has undertaken at some point in time or another. And there were -- there are questions on safety and, naturally, the FDA and this consortium of partners came to us. And that's over the next 5 years. It's a big job over the next 5 years. Again, in the aggregate revenue of our company is not going to be something that's going to move the needle in a dramatic fashion, if that was your question. But again, it's just one unusual type of engagement that essentially demonstrates that we are -- our capabilities put us head and shareholders above anything that's out there. Can you repeat the second question? I think that is...

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [53]

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Cost savings.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [54]

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Yes, on cost savings. Yes.

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Erin Elizabeth Wilson Wright, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Research Analyst [55]

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Just on the cost cuttings. Yes.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [56]

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Yes. I mean look, we -- I gave enough color on that. We basically are done with the identification. We know what we are going to be doing with some refinement between now and the end of the year. But we'll essentially -- we will be launching these programs early next year. And as I said on the -- at the conference, this is not basic SG&A and overhead consolidations as perhaps a lot of it was after the merger. This is more IT-based, automation-based, process reengineering-based. This continued offshoring of certain capabilities where we have scale and, et cetera, okay? It's not the same type of activities like this continued procurement as we continue to gain scale in some areas. And we know how to do these, this is Operations 101 or 102. And we're very confident, we have visibility on that. Maybe one more question?

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [57]

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Yes, I think we're coming up on the hour. So I think we'll just take one last question, please, operator.

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Operator [58]

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Our next question comes from the line of John Kreger with William Blair.

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John Charles Kreger, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner & Healthcare Services Analyst [59]

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Two questions. First, Ari, can you talk about the assets that you've bought so far this year, particularly in Q2? Sounds like that's mainly in R&D Solutions, but just sort of the nature of the assets you're buying? And the second question, I know you've talked about rolling out OCT, I think, later this year. As you think about that business over the next few years, is it -- do you view it as a bigger opportunity than OCE or smaller? Just to frame it a little bit.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [60]

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Yes. Okay. On the acquisitions, I think we did very little acquisitions, actually. We had a -- I think we spend what -- what was the number this quarter? $26 million. I think we had one small little thing in technology and a tiny, tiny little thing in R&D. We had no acquisitions in R&D in the first quarter. And in the second quarter, like a small thing that added like a couple of million, maybe something like that, to our revenue. Very small.

In R&D, the acquisition contribution mostly came from last years. In the -- I think I guess in the fourth quarter, we did an acquisition. And that acquisition did actually brought in a little bit more in the second quarter than we had anticipated. There is another new contract that generated I think a little bit more revenue. But again, you're talking about single digits here. And then a very tiny, tiny acquisition that maybe brought in a couple of million, if I remember. So there's very, very little new news here on the R&D side. And in technology, very small also, right, we did one.

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [61]

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Yes, just a small tuck-in.

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [62]

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Yes. Yes. And then the second question was?

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John Charles Kreger, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner & Healthcare Services Analyst [63]

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The second question was your thinking on OCT. Is it a bigger or smaller opportunity?

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Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - Chairman, President & CEO [64]

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So look, it's a potentially huge market. It is not a market that's as well defined as the CRM market because the CRM market is a very mature market that has been there for decades. It used to be on-premise-type old systems. And the CRM market for sales reps in pharma is a very old market.

It was then revolutionized by one player, which gives a SaaS solution that did extremely well and that continues, remains to be the leader in that market.

But it's a very finite market, okay? There's just a number of sales reps, and that's it. There's no -- it's a finite market. And our growth in that market is simply market share grab. It's an OCE -- OCE is a market share play. Again, it's that large competitor. We just feel that, that competitor has like 80% plus market. And we feel we are -- we can claim a fair share of that market, and that's what is actually happening on the back of superior capabilities that were obtained on the back of more investments in technology and our great partnership with Salesforce.

With respect to OCT, it's essentially about across the clinical suite of activities, trial, deploying tools and technologies to automate processes that were previously paper-based and that includes a lot of labor manipulations and prone to error, rework and a lot of inefficiency. So it's hard to quantify the size of the market. But I would say, yes, the market is potentially much larger than OCE and a very attractive marketplace in terms of its growth patterns because it's really converting historically paper- and labor-intensive set of processes into more automated processes.

And as you know the particularity of OCT is that it's -- we would like to create automated tools that actually speak to each other and that are interconnected that's how difference. There are many people who are bringing important solutions to the market. We are bringing in a suite of tools that can be turned on or off and that speak to each other and are interoperable and connected in a seamless suite, as we demonstrated at the investor conference, and all of which are built on a Salesforce platform as well. Okay?

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Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Holdings Inc. - VP of IR [65]

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Thanks for your question, John. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to join us today. We look forward to speaking with you again on our third quarter 2019 earnings call. Jen and I will be available to take any follow-up questions you might have for the rest of the day. Thank you.

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Operator [66]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude today's conference call. We thank you for your participation and ask that you kindly disconnect your lines. Have a great day, everyone.