Recently, Merge Healthcare Incorporated (MRGE) expanded its eClinical OS platform by including endpoint and adjudication management. The latest extension of the eClinical OS platform of the company is embedded within an electronic data capture platform.
Merge could develop this new unified solution by utilizing the experience of working with the largest worldwide endpoint adjudication coordinating centers. The extension will help Merge to provide end-to-end study support for trials of all sizes via a single platform. Users can enhance cost efficiency and save time with a single, seamless system. By collaborating and enhancing flexibility of the workflow, this will also improve the endpoint management and adjudication process for all stakeholders.
Merge eClinical OS is a single, web-based platform that can secure any form of data from any source, over any modality. Given the exhaustive menu of clinical trial capabilities, it can support trials in different phases. Thus, the use of eClinical OS gives a strong base to support the trial environment.
The enhanced eClinical OS platform can enable contract research organizations (CROs) and clinical study sponsors to conduct and manage clinical studies in a more efficient manner. According to the company, Merge eClinical OS is a scalable platform that can also support alterations in size, number or complexity of the trial.
Since its launch in Jun 2012, Merge eClinical OS, the platform has witnessed a strong uptake. On a sequential basis, the number of clinical studies under contract for eClinical franchise surged 57% and number of sites using eClinical solutions increased 65%.
The Bigger Picture
According to Merge, the worldwide growth for the eClinical solutions market is estimated at 13.4% to correspond to market opportunity of $4.8 billion through 2017. Moreover, the rest of the world is the fastest growing market for eClinical technology with an annualized growth of 16.6%. Thus far, Merge eClinical platform is doing well (79% bookings growth and 190 contract wins in the most recent quarter). We are optimistic that the company will gain further from the global opportunities.
Despite the healthy client wins and bookings growth, Merge posted another weak quarter to end a challenging 2012. Although the huge market opportunity for its platforms is encouraging, the company’s growth prospect is highly dependent on capital investments by hospitals for advanced imaging solutions, which are in turn tied to the general economic conditions.
Despite the lucrative market opportunity, we remain on the sidelines until we see signs of improved execution. As a result, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, other healthcare stocks such as Cepheid (CPHD), Cyberonics Inc. (CYBX) and Conceptus Inc. (CPTS), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), warrant a look.
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