Software giant Oracle has signed an agreement with Wisconsin not-for-profit Aurora Health Care focusing on the secondary use of clinical data for improving clinical research processes including comparative effectiveness studies, safety monitoring and long-term observational trials.

As part of the agreement, Oracle will provide data management and analytics expertise to help Aurora Health Care leverage its clinical expertise and maximise the potential of its biorepository, ORBIT, to advance biomarker research.

The Open-Source Robotic Biorepository and Informatics Technology (ORBIT) programme is a platform for making blood samples and health-related information available to researchers, so that they can better understand human biology and develop personalised therapies.

According to Dr Nick Turkal, Aurora Health Care's president and chief executive officer, the opportunities created by the tie-up with Oracle “could transform clinical research”.

Aurora “has a long history of offering the newest therapies and technologies to patients through clinical trials”, he noted. “We hope this project will allow us to work with industry to take research to the next level.”

Last year Oracle further boosted its health sciences business by acquiring Phase Forward, the US-based provider of data management solutions for clinical trials and drug safety, for around US$685 million in cash.

Oracle’s Health Sciences Global Business Unit already offered clinical trial design, clinical study and healthcare data management, clinical and healthcare analytics, and healthcare interoperability solutions.

At the time, Oracle and Phase Forward talked of convergence between the life sciences and healthcare industries as they sought to control costs while accelerating patient-centered innovation.

Merging clinical data with care delivery information was expected “to better support personalised medicine, enable patient-centered innovation and better engage patients in their own care”.

Commenting on the agreement with Aurora, Neil de Crescenzo, senior vice president and general manager of the Oracle Health Sciences Global Business Unit, said enhanced collaboration “across the healthcare and life sciences continuum is vital to driving continued innovation, including the discovery and development of next-generation treatments and therapies”.

Aurora Health Care is the largest health system in Wisconsin, serving 1.5 million patients a year across 15 hospitals and 155 clinics in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, US.