- Iqvia, a contract research and consulting company for the biotech and pharma sectors, cut its 2020 sales guidance by more than $1 billion due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on clinical research.
- The company now expects revenue of $10.6 billion to $10.9 billion this year, down from an earlier estimate of $11.8 billion to $12 billion.
- While Iqvia hasn't experienced any trial cancellations because of the novel coronavirus, 80% of its clinical research sites are currently inaccessible because of travel restrictions, according to an April 28 statement.
Iqvia disclosures come as more than 70 companies have reported a coronavirus-related disruption to their clinical research since the start of March. With more than 3 million cases now confirmed across the globe, many countries and local governments have kept in place restrictions on movement and nonessential businesses.
Company officials said they expect the number of inaccessible research sites to average 70% during the second quarter, with 35% of sites still unreachable in the third quarter. Iqvia's current modeling assumes that all sites will be open by the start of the fourth quarter.
That's based on an assumption that new cases of the virus will continue to emerge and increase until the end of the second quarter, after which they will start to decline.
Iqvia said its business was as strong as expected in January and February, before the virus began to disrupt the world on a large scale. The company reported first-quarter revenue of $2.75 billion and adjusted diluted earnings of $1.50 per share.
Beyond clinical trial disruptions, the company is also seeing an effect on its normal business development activities. Most of Iqvia's offices are closed around the world, with employees working remotely. The same is true of Iqvia's clients, from large pharmaceutical companies to smaller biotechs.
Company officials said they expect commercial activity to gradually resume in the third quarter, with the fourth quarter returning to normal.
In the meantime, Iqvia is also actively engaging in efforts to fight the virus. It's working on a U.K. testing program, partnering with the University of Texas to develop new lab tests for vaccine candidates and joining with governments and industry groups to assist in the development of possible vaccines and treatments.
Iqvia CEO and chairman Ari Bousbib told investors on a conference call that the company is currently working on 36 COVID-19 awards and has a pipeline of 70 other possible projects. The work is "generally heavily discounted," however, so the company doesn't expect it to have a significant effect on bookings.