Consultancy ZS has agreed to acquire Medullan, the creator of a virtual care platform that facilitates clinical research.

The deal, set to close by month’s end, will bring together ZS’s digital strategy, consulting and data analytics capabilities with Medullan’s digital health tools and strategy expertise. Terms were not disclosed.

While consumer use of telemedicine has increased of late, most digital health tools have suffered from a lack of uptake, a reality which ZS principal Pete Masloski said motivated its move for Medullan. 

“The digital health industry has been growing pretty substantially over the last 10 years, but many sectors still have a lot of room for growth,” he explained. Masloski added that the addition of Medullan “will allow us to become better partners for our clients and help them realize impact in digital health.”

Medullan CEO Ahmed Albaiti agreed, noting that biopharma organizations “have been on the outskirts observing, partnering and making investments, but they haven’t jumped into digital health until more recently. Despite drugmakers’ hot-and-cold relationship with the sector, the industry’s “lagging behavior is starting to wane,” he said. 

ZS is especially bullish on the potential for accelerating and expanding decentralized clinical trials (DCT). To that end, Medullan’s virtual care tool is designed to help companies improve the efficiency and effectiveness of drug development by supporting these trials. DCT boosters believe such trials will ultimately push healthcare to a higher standard of patient care and trial diversity

In addition to the convenience they offer, DCTs can make patient care more personal by using data to offer insight into patients, their conditions and how best to treat them. Trial sponsors, for their part, can target gaps in the healthcare system that may be hindering optimal care or patient experience. 

Albaiti believes Medullan’s tool will bring a “baseline foundation” of virtual care to biopharma. By allying itself with ZS, Medullan will be able to scale its offering far more quickly and effectively. 

For ZS, the addition of Medullan should also enhance the company’s ability to help pharma clients on the commercial side, where digital health opens up opportunities for new revenue sources like digital therapeutics, Masloski added.