On Glen de Vries

Tom Paine

Glen de Vries (Medidata)

Glen de Vries, who was killed in a New Jersey plane crash at the age of 49 this past Thursday, was remembered in the general media afterword for two things: having journeyed into space with William Shatner in the previous month, and for the terrible irony for having survived that space flight only to lose his life in a Cessna.

But he must not be remembered merely as a footnote to history.

de Vries was known to Pennsylvanians at both ends of the state: as an alumnus and later a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University; and in the large clinical research community in the Philly area he was known and admired for pushing the envelope for automating the clinical trials process at New York-based Medidata.

He happened to be very successful in business, owning a nice chunk of a company sold to Dassault for nearly $6 billion in late 2o19; he was still serving as an advisor to Dassault at the time of his death. But I think most people recognized him as a scientist first, a businessman second. The pandemic demonstrate the importance of clinical trials being conducted quickly and accurately.

Medidata had some presence in Philly. In 2008, it bought a company named Fast Track Systems in Conshohocken, although no physical sign of it remains. LinkedIn shows 120 people currently as Medidata employees in Greater Philadelphia. From its Radnor offices, Veeva Systems has taken on Medidata in a fierce competitive and legal battle.

Clinical Trial data leader Medidata, with Conshy office, to be acquired by Dassault for $5.8 billion

It really flies

Tom Paine

Medidata, which calls itself a Unified Life Science Platform, agreed yesterday to be acquired by French technology company Dassault for $5.8 billion in cash, 2% less than its closing price the preceding Friday.

New York-based Medidata, founded in 1999 and specializing in data and processes related to clinical trials, has an office in Conshohocken dating from an acquisition with some 100 employees, per LinkedIn. There is stepped up competition as larger participants enter the market. Medidata revenue increased 17% last year to $635.7 million while it reported net income of $51.9 million.

Other larger entrants in the market include Oracle, Veeva Systems, CRF Bracket (just renamed Signant Health), BioClinica, and IQVIA , the result of the merger between IMS Health and Quintiles.

Dassault had revenue of $3.5 billion euros in 2018. It acquired Quintiq, a supply chain software provider based in Radnor and the Netherlands, for $336 milion in 2014. Rumors about Dassault’s interest in Medidata date back to at least April.