Oracle is to purchase Relsys International, a maker of drug safety and risk management software, a move that ties into its ongoing strategy to tap verticals.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year. Terms were not disclosed.

Many of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies use Relsys' software, which pharmaceuticals, biotech companies and other organisations use to track and analyze safety-related data.

The Irvine, California, company will "bring significant domain knowledge and experience" to Oracle's health sciences global business unit, said Oracle.

Oracle's move "makes a lot of sense" given the political climate in the US, said Redmonk analyst James Governor.

"We're likely to see a stronger FDA and related approval processes under the Obama administration," Governor said. "Health care is also one of the verticals set to benefit from any big initiatives to fix US health care."

But health care is not the only vertical Oracle is pursuing in search of new growth, and its battle against its rival in the ERP arena, SAP.

Last year, Oracle bought two companies that make software for the insurance industry. And in October, it scooped up Primavera, a top PPM (project portfolio management) vendor with customers in verticals such as construction and utilities.