Oracle has expanded its reach into the life sciences sector with the acquisition of life sciences applications software firm Phase Forward for €509m ($685m).

Phase Forward specialises on clinical trial management and regulatory submissions software. The firm’s main application is the SaaS integrated clinical research suites for the management and safety of clinical trials from start to post-regulatory approval monitoring.

The deal will see Phase Forward incorporated into Oracle’s Health Sciences division with both management and staff expected to join Oracle once the deal has been finalised, expected later this year.

According to Oracle, the deal will provide researchers, clinical development professionals, physicians, regulators and patients with new tools to securely capture, contribute, access and share data.

Oracle already has substantial interests in the life sciences market, with existing software for project management, validation and compliance software already available.

With the recent upgrade to its online CRM — Release 17 — it also released a CRM module specifically for the life sciences.

However, the latest deal significantly strengthens Oracle in the data intensive area of clinical trials. The acquisition will also add 335 companies Oracle’s life sciences customer base.

While the technology Phase Forward sells will continue to be the mainstay of Oracle’s dealings with those companies, it also opens the doors for Oracle’s other health software products.