Veeva scoops up rival Zinc Ahead to create mega-content management platform

Veeva Systems ($VEEV) bought its nearest competitor in life science content management systems, Zinc Ahead, in a $130 million purchase that will combine the top two companies in the specialized field.

Both operate software systems that manage pharma content including promotional materials, advertising and marketing assets and social media commentary. But Zinc Ahead, founded in 2001, has a specialty in pharma compliance, which in this case is the process of content review and approval across the medical, legal and regulatory departments of a company.

The deal is rooted in the speed of current marketing content. Gone are the days when it was OK to have lengthy and slow approval processes that resulted in just one or two pieces of promotional content every few months for salespeople to hand out on in-office visits. Today's consumer wants the information they want, when and where they want it.

Veeva's Paul Shawah

"What Zinc brings--along with a significant customer base--is really deep experience and expertise in the compliance area," said Paul Shawah, VP of product marketing at Veeva. "I think where this gets really interesting is given what's happening in the intent and desire for pharma companies to be more customer-centric than they ever have been. … To be customer-centric fundamentally, you need content to make that happen."

Zinc's ability to clear content quickly will result in pharma companies being able to get new content to market faster, while Veeva's broader cloud-based solutions connect across multichannel platforms for integrated and seamless messaging, Shawah said.

Veeva will continue to support Zinc's legacy system Zinc MAPS and its clients for at least 5 years, he said, although clients will also have the option to switch to Veeva's Vault PromoMats which it added to its CRM capabilities in 2011. At the merger, Zinc MAPS had 120 customers, while PromoMats had 70.

- read the press release