Irish contract research organisation (CRO) ICON has deepened its relationship with US-based electronic data capture (EDC) specialist Phase Forward.

The two companies have signed a multi-year enterprise agreement that builds on the partnership struck last January under Phase Forward’s CRO Advantage Program. That agreement gave ICON and its clients access to Phase Forward’s InForm integrated trial management system. Since then, the two partners have “won a notable number of deals” and ICON has increased the number of professionals receiving in-depth training in the InForm EDC solution, Phase Forward noted.

Under the new arrangements, ICON will have the option to adopt the InForm platform internally and “as such offer the benefits InForm affords under a fully hosted model”, Phase Forward explained.

ICON customers can choose between working with the CRO on clinical studies where it is developing, managing and hosting the InForm software, or working with Phase Forward under a hosted model. This means the EDC supplier provides services, support, technology and training to help customers ease into adoption of the software within the desired timeframe.

The InForm EDC solution offers advanced reporting and analysis tools, enabling trial sponsors to view and act on data earlier in the clinical development cycle and to manage study procedures and expenditure more effectively.

Tying up with CROs has been an important part of Phase Forward’s strategy, as evidenced by the recent expansion of alliances with Parexel and Quintiles. In April, Quintiles signed a multi-year licence agreement to extend its use of the InForm solution, which was already the software of choice for nearly 90% of Quintiles’ EDC trials.

These and other CRO alliances have helped to set Phase Forward on a healthy growth path, with revenues and operating profit for the second quarter of 2007 up by 27.5% and 94.5% respectively. ICON is also benefiting from strong demand, announcing second-quarter results last week in which net revenues rose by 36.9% to US$147 million and operating income was 41.7% higher at US$16.1 million.

The CRO booked a record US$230 million in net new business wins for the quarter, pushing its order backlog over US$1 billion.