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Champions 2.0


March 12, 2007

Ed HeltonSAS
Ed Helton

Chief Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Scientist

How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many others companies did not?

SAS succeeds by maintaining a strong focus on our core strengths in business intelligence, and listening to our customers. Accordingly, we have made substantial long-term investments in the development of a validated and compliant analytical software platform for life sciences. This platform supports the industry's evolving needs to bridge healthcare and FDA regulated data. And SAS has committed to use these investments to help facilitate the considerable re-engineering of therapeutic product development processes already underway in many life sciences firms. As a private company, SAS can invest for the long-term; developing software, like pharmaceuticals, requires a strategic commitment.

What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?

Drivers, such as the FDA's Critical Path Initiative, will continue to highlight new efficiencies in the drug development process that companies will embrace. Data standards will play an increasingly important role in the convergence of healthcare and life sciences and the progression towards personalized medicine. Technologies like data integration and advanced analytics will continue to accelerate the understanding of safety and efficacy of new therapies. And stronger use of adaptive research models and deeper understandings of the biological systems behind medical conditions will help us support the development of safer and more effective treatments.

What products and services does your company provide and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?

SAS has a long-standing industry commitment that has produced a powerful analytical platform covering areas of science (genomics, proteomics, scientific visualization, microarrays, grid computing) and clinical development (data management, integration, advanced analytics, compliance management, standards support). Increasingly, we see this platform being leveraged as a shared environment between companies and their regulators and partners. The combination of proven industry experience and a powerful product portfolio is why SAS remains a highly trusted company in the industry.

Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?

SAS has placed a heavy emphasis on partnering with both consulting firms and other technology organizations to advance the automation and dissemination of analytic information. We believe that standards should form the basis of how we work with other organizations, and CDISC has served as a strong force for enabling us to collaborate with companies of all sizes, as well as industry regulators. The strong support for standards like CDISC that SAS provides in our products today is a direct result of this effort, and it helps customers reduce their costs of bringing information into a common environment.

What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?

The upcoming SAS 9.2 platform, including SAS Data Integration Server, SAS Drug Development, JMP, and new advanced analytics, is an exciting milestone for SAS because the integrated nature of this platform will support end-to-end interfacing of standard data for the application of statistical discovery, data visualization, and knowledge extraction. It will help put the industry in a new era for risk management and create better alignment between the clinical and translational sciences.

Where do you see your company in five years?

Our customers want help assimilating larger volumes of more complex information with deeper support for standards. They want easier access to the powerful capabilities in the SAS platform, and help in aligning their business processes across traditional functional silos. Our mission is software innovation: working with customers to discover how data integration, advanced analytics and business intelligence can be applied in the evolving world of personalized medicine. SAS will help put the industry in a new era for risk management and create better alignment between the clinical and translational sciences for the long-awaited enhancements to public health.

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