Cerner’s Recent Acquisition Evidences Growing Trend of Combining Healthcare & Research Data to Accelerate Clinical Trials

Cerner's Recent Acquisition Evidences Growing Trend of Combining Healthcare & Research Data to Accelerate Clinical Trials

One of the leading electronic health record (EHR) software vendors in North America positions new offerings to accelerate clinical trials’ transformational activity with real world health intelligence. Kansas City-based Cerner, a top EHR vendor, positions to expand its penetration of the research space with the recent $375 million all-cash acquisition of Kantar Health. Closing the recent deal, Cerner looks to enhance and extend its Learning Health Network Consortium. TrialSite breaks down the momentum in the market, bringing together real world health records with research.

The research as a care option/real world evidence movement

Cerner makes a move to further develop its Cerner Learning Health Network client consortium. Launched back in 2019 in a collaborative offering with Duke Clinical Research Institute, Cerner seeks to offer up to trial sites and pharma faster and more expedient data to help progress health research.  

TrialSite reported that the Cerner Learning Health Network offers participating health systems and clinical research organizations access to de-identified data and resources to develop superior, more efficient medical research. They do this by utilizing a network of participating academic health systems that happen to be Cerner customers on the health care delivery side for EHR. The network involves linking and streamlining the data, with an aim of transforming efficiency and effectiveness of clinical trials.

By December 2020, TrialSite reported on the Cerner strategic investment in Elligo Health Research—a leading clinical research as a care option company. TrialSite interviewed Elligo Health Research CEO John Potthoff for an interesting perspective into that company’s strategy, which involves enabling clinics and hospital to do FDA-complaint research.

The Cerner consortium today involves 92 million patients combined with 776 million clinical encounters. 

What does Kantar Health do?

A division of Kantar, the company was formed in 2009 and develops data analytics and research to the life sciences sector. With a focus on real-world evidence and commercialization, Kantar Health enables clients to bring safe and effective treatments to patients around the world. The company hired team members with expertise across a plethora of therapeutic areas from oncology to rare disease.

They were part of the parent company Kantar Group, which was purchased by Bain Capital in 2019. Kantar Group is an analytics and clinical research consultancy.

What does the Kantar analytics software do?

The purchase included securing the data analytics group of Kantar Group and included Kantar Health’s proprietary syndicated data products, including CancerMPact, Claritis, National Health & Wellness Survey as well as its broader subject matter expertise across oncology, rare disease and other therapeutic areas often used by life science and healthcare companies to further real-world evidence, commercial and clinical research efforts.

So, for example, CancerMPact, is based on 4 web-based modules that cover epidemiology, drug utilization and treatment landscape for over 30 tumor types in America, Western Europe, Japan and China. Claritis links patient-reported outcomes, claims and EHRs to more efficiently and effectively profile patients using multiple data sets. This offers greater views of clinical and patient-derived data at scale, theoretically cutting down the research design time and execution, leaving more time to focus on commercial success planning.

The National Health & Wellness Survey offers patient-reported data on outcomes attitudes, behaviors, characteristics and demographics with national projections on 200 conditions in 10 countries. The data set includes 35 validated scales and disease-specific assessment measures to help better profile patient populations.

What is Cerner doing with this suite of assets?

Cerner plans on tapping into, leveraging and harnessing this data (and expertise) to improve the safety, efficiency and efficacy of clinical research across life sciences, pharma and healthcare.

The Kansas City-based EHR vendor will work to integrate this company’s assets, including consultants, with its own real-world data mart business offering capability to biopharmaceutical and health organizations including payers.

Is part of this for business development?

Yes. Cerner’s marketing and sales force are not as experienced in the life sciences research space. With the Kantar Health purchase, the deep SME capability in Kantar health will augment and support Cerner’s ability to broaden engagement with biopharma companies, for examplem for funded research studies and the introduction of new studies.

A cultural fit?

Apparently yes, and that most certainly is needed for successful merger and acquisition activity.  The two organizations both value the need for boosting access and affordability for patients.

How can this acquisition transform the market?

Well, by combining Cerner’s huge EHR footprint from across North America (and the data and insights already locked up in that stack) with their Learning Network, Kantar Health’s assets and expertise can lead to a “steep change in the way healthcare is developed and delivered, resulting in improved patient outcomes.”

Which investment banks facilitated the deal for the seller?

Harris Williams served as exclusive financial advisor while Weil, Gotshal & Manges acted as legal advisor, and EY supported the accounting, tax, operational, technology and separation advisors for Kantar Health.  TrialSite notes Harris Williams, a boutique investment bank, has a very good name for health and Healthtech-related mergers and acquisitions.


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