On The Tragic Passing Of Medidata’s Glen de Vries

November 15, 2021 | All of us at Cambridge Healthtech Institute, including the staff of Clinical Research News and the SCOPE conference team, are deeply saddened by last week’s tragic passing of Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries in a small plane crash in New Jersey. Encounters with the clinical trial visionary were always a privilege both for the learning opportunity and because of his especially friendly demeanor. 

As has been well reported, Glen famously flew into space with actor William Shatner only last month. But for people in the industry he served, and those who really knew him, Glen was an everyday hero—one who could not only inspire change but imagine the impact. 

He saw Amazon’s potential back when it was still an online bookseller and used the insight to create a company bringing the same sort of efficiencies to the disjointed process of data capture and management in clinical trials. He also hand-coded the original software.       

Glen launched Medidata Solutions in 1999 with Tarek Sherif with the seemingly simple idea of helping drugmakers run and track clinical data in the cloud. Fast forward 22 years and you’d be hard pressed to find a life sciences executive who can’t name the company’s flagship product (Medidata Rave EDC). Most of the world's top 25 pharmaceutical companies are now clients and, at last count, Medidata had managed more than 25,000 clinical trials involving seven million patients. 

Talk about a legacy. 

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Glen’s family and friends at their very personal, unimaginable loss, and they extend to untold numbers of other staff, partners, colleagues, and customers who remain part of one of the great purposes of his life. We are thankful to be able to count ourselves among them.  

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