Phase Forward, the US-based provider of data management solutions for clinical trials and drug safety, made a strong start to the year with a 26.3% increase in licensing and service revenues to US$38.0 million for the quarter ended 31 March 2008.

The main impetus for growth was service revenues, which grew by 33.4% to US$25.4 million. Licence revenues rose by 14.3% over the first quarter of 2007 to US$12.6 million.

Taken as a whole, the quarterly revenues were largely down to Phase Forward’s InForm electronic data capture (EDC) solution, which made up 75.8% of the first-quarter total. InForm licence, application hosting and other related revenues were US$28.8 million, up by 35.2% over the first quarter of 2007.

Operating income in the latest quarter was US$44.43 million, 36.9% higher than in the same period last year, while net income was 15.0% ahead at US$4.00 million.

Chief executive officer and president Bob Weiler said Phase Forward had exceeded its guidance for the quarter and “continued to solidify our market leadership position”. Driving these achievements were “broad customer satisfaction and referenceability based on our proven track record of delivering highly scalable and complex implementations on a global basis for companies of all sizes”, he commented.

Among the highlights of the first quarter, Phase Forward noted that revenues from contract research organisations (CROs) grew by 55% and now accounted for 19% of overall revenues. This included follow-on business from a number of current CRO customers, including AAI Pharma, Chiltern, SGS Life Sciences and Quintiles, as well as the addition of three other CROs to the roster.