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Bio•IT World Best Practices 2008

By John Russell
Dec. 11, 2007 | Defining and sharing best practices in drug discovery is challenging. The mix of technologies being put to work is ever-changing and the speed with which those technologies advance is dizzying. Stir in competitive zeal which inclines companies to conceal, not share, their winning ways, and you get a sense of the challenge. This picture is rather different from pure academic research, which is every bit as competitive, but whose laurels are earned through the peer-review publishing cycle.

Yet difficult doesn't mean impossible and even if today's best practices are unlikely to remain so for long, they nevertheless represent excellence to be celebrated and the kind of vanguard thinking from which the next generation of best practices will spring.

In 2008, Bio•IT World is again sponsoring a Best Practices Awards program to recognize innovation and excellence in the use of technology to advance drug discovery and development and biomedical research. This is our fourth Best Practices Awards effort, following a two-year hiatus during which, among other things, Bio•IT World was acquired by Cambridge Healthtech Institute, and became the core of the Cambridge Healthtech Media Group.

I urge you to review Bio•IT World Best Practices program (, consider whether your organization has an appropriate example of technology well-used, and submit an entry to Best Practices 2008. It's good for you, good for your organization, and good for the industry. Moreover, Bio•IT World's special report to be published next summer and its awards ceremony dinner at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo (April 29 in Boston) will shine a spotlight on innovative activities at a time when the drug industry receives so much criticism.   

This year's entrants will be in good company. Past Best Practices winners include: Baylor College of Medicine; Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago; Endo Pharmaceuticals; GlaxoSmithKline; Harvard Partners Center for Genetics & Genomics; Iconix Pharmaceuticals; Locus Pharmaceuticals; Millennium Pharmaceuticals; National Cancer Institute; Perlegen Sciences; Pfizer PGRD; Roche Diagnostics; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Surromed; TGen; Vertex Pharmaceuticals; and Wyeth Research.

As a general rule, we're look for examples of work that was done in the last two years and is substantially complete (though there is some wiggle room.) Nominations are open to R&D and scientific facilities and labs in pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, academia, government, medical or related institutions and organizations, as well as public and private research organizations. The deadline for entry submission is January 31, 2008.

There are seven categories: basic research and R&D; drug discovery and development; clinical research and trials; translational and personalized medicine; IT infrastructure and knowledge management; business and economic development; chemistry and  compounds.

For examples of the kinds of projects we're looking for, as well as downloadable entry forms and guidelines, please visit

The judging process is rigorous. We assemble a panel of experts drawn from industry and academia, across a number of disciplines, and convene them to evaluate and rate all entries and pick winners. The winners will then be announced on April 29 at a gala dinner held in conjunction with Bio-IT World Conference & Expo at the World Trade Center, Boston.

Take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your organization's efforts and to contribute to the industry's broader knowledge base. Feel free to contact me with questions at

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