Covance reported quarterly revenue that rose 5.7 percent to $531 million. Profits rose 9 percent to $35.7 million. Late stage projects are doing considerably better for the company than early-phase work. Lab testing remains strong. "Our strategic information technology projects are progressing according to the plan we outlined," CEO Joe Herring told analysts. "We continue to forecast mid-single-[percentage] digit year-on-year revenue growth." Here's a release.

Separately, Covance will shutter a controversial $100 million preclinical testing facility in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb, citing poor market demand. Local business authorities had hoped the contract research organization would bring jobs and other life science firms to the region. Animal-rights activists cheered the decision, but their lobbying and invective against the firm don't appear to have been the deciding factor in closing the site.

Parexel reported quarterly service revenue that rose 18.1 percent to $356 million. Profits rose 15.1 percent to $22.9 million. Chairman and CEO Joseph von Rickenbach said the company would be focusing on the execution of previously awarded contracts and making investments for the future. "These investments are expected to have a negative impact on operating margins in the near term, while they enable revenue and margin growth over the longer term," he said. Here's a release.

Almac purchased equipment to allow its U.S. projects to quickly produce larger volumes of drug supplies for clinical trials. New blister-pack machinery from PharmaWorks will allow Almac to help sponsors and other contract research organizations plan and manufacture the kits for global studies. "The machine is equipped with an automated feeder that can accommodate the input of up to four different products (tablets or capsules) simultaneously," the firm notes. We're working on a longer story about blister packs in industry research. Here's a release.

Wolters Kluwer is leaving the healthcare data analytics industry, selling its software to an investor fund called Symphony Technology Group. Terms were not disclosed. The press release doesn't clarify much, but signals that the sold business unit had physician-level prescription data. Here's a wire service story.

SAS made two announcements indicating its interest in healthcare. The software firm will partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to jointly make predictions amid subtle medical trends in large quantities of medical data. (The insurer has data from 100 hospitals, 25,000 physicians and 3.7 million individuals.) "SAS software will provide health plans with predictive models similar to those in other consumer-focused industries," said SAS chief medical officer Graham Hughes. And SAS announced its own Facebook-like community to aid collaboration between pharma and healthcare. "This open community will help customers, partners, regulators and other industry stakeholders explore together how health analytics can power a more information-driven health ecosystem," said Jason Burke, SAS's managing director of the effort.

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