UPDATE 2-Dassault Systemes gets COVID-19 clinical trials boost, shares jump

(Recasts with share move, adds detail from webcast)

Feb 4 (Reuters) - French software company Dassault Systemes said on Thursday it was on course for higher 2021 revenue, boosted by a strong performance in its clinical trials business Medidata, lifting its shares by more than 5%.

The company estimates that 60% of more than 500 COVID-19 trials have used Medidata - a U.S. firm which the group acquired in 2019 - connecting 75 billion records and cutting start-up time by 50-60%.

“In just a few years we have become critical in the industry,” said the firm’s finance chief Pascal Daloz in a call with journalists, as the group’s life sciences business - which uses data and AI in therapeutics - begins this year with 94% of its target revenue covered thanks to progress in 2020.

These include trials for the shots developed in China, and by Pfizer-BioNTech , Moderna, and Britain’s AstraZeneca - but not Russia’s Sputnik V.

The group predicted high visibility and 14% revenue growth for Medidata this year after it signed record multi-year contract renewals for clinical trials in 2020.

“We know that the pipeline looks good for the license, and we have a relatively good coverage,” said Chief Executive Bernard Charles, “but we still have some volatility.”

Shares in Dassault Systemes rose more than 5% at 1117 GMT, the top gainer in France’s blue-chip CAC 40 index.

Deloz added that cloud services currently make over 20% of sales, confirming the group’s goal to grow this to one-third by 2025 - or over 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion).

While U.S. giants Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google dominate data storage worldwide, Dassault Systemes has been developing its cloud capacities after European politicians called for home-grown alternatives.

The group predicted first-quarter non-IFRS revenue of 1.15-1.17 billion euros and up to 4.77 billion euros for the full year - up from 4.46 billion in 2020. ($1 = 0.8342 euros) (Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Shri Navaratnam and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)