Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 25, 2012

BT for Life Sciences R&D Hopes to Help Drug Companies Work Together

BT today announced BT for Life Sciences R&D, a cloud service designed to accelerate research and development within the life sciences industry, using social media tools in some cases, according to a company press release.

The new service is especially targeted at the new stringent requirements for security, regulatory and compliance in the healthcare industry. BT also announced that it has partnered with Accelrys, a scientific enterprise R&D software and services company, to bring additional features to the platform, including Accelrys scientific applications in BT for Life Sciences R&D and providing on-demand services for Accelrys customers.

The company said in the press release that BT for Life Sciences R&D is under development as a secure and segregated platform for scientists in pharmaceutical, biotech, devices and diagnostics companies as well as those in academia and government.

This will allow them to construct and orchestrate in silico workflows, where research is conducted via computer simulations with models closely reflecting the real world, and data pipelines to identify new pharmaceutical targets and drug candidates, according to the press release.

Matthew Herper at Forbes writes that the average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and can be as high as $12 billion. “At $12 billion per drug, inventing medicines is a pretty unsustainable business,” he writes.

Even in 2010, experts were worried about the astronomical costs of developing new drugs. Peter Mansell recommended in an article that “pharmaceutical companies need to recalibrate their measurements of R&D investment if they are to generate real value through innovation.”

This is why pharmaceutical companies are pooling R&D and other services, and as the press release notes, working together on projects around the world, using platforms like this, as well as collaborating using social media tools, which allows the secure uploading of documents, sharing of results and use of IM, voice, video or chat to analyze results in an environment specific to the pharmaceutical industry.

The BT for Life Sciences R&D platform is supported by the BT Assure portfolio of security services. These allow BT to assist customers in designing data encryption, anonymization, risk management and resilience to meet their quality and regulatory requirements for the cloud environment.

The new cloud platform for life sciences builds on BT’s On Demand Compute service, which “conforms to the quality and regulatory requirements that make an environment suitable for many regulated applications that can be collaboratively used where partners may have differing risk profiles,” according to the press release.

“The pharmaceutical industry is facing an extremely challenging environment where patent protected revenues are at risk and R&D productivity are declining, resulting in lower revenues and continued rise in the cost of bringing new drugs to market,” said Bas Burger, president of Global Commerce for BT Global Services, in the press release. “Now companies can potentially reduce research costs and accelerate time to market by collaborating with third parties in a secure and compliant environment, and bring innovative solutions to market faster through computer simulation and modeling. This aims at helping them develop new products faster, with lower costs and increased revenues.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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