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The Russell Transcript 

January 15, 2005 | So much of drug discovery and development results in failure that it is important to shine a spotlight on rare successes and to identify technologies and approaches that tilt the odds in favor of triumph. This idea is the heart of Bio·IT World's annual Best Practices Awards program, which begins its third iteration with this column.

Through the first two years, we have processed roughly 100 entries; issued 18 awards; published two special reports in Bio·IT World; twice held prestigious awards ceremonies and dinners at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.; published two compendiums of each year's entries and distributed those as a token of appreciation to all entrants (2004 participants will receive theirs shortly); and recently launched a Best Practices newsletter to more expansively share BP results within the wider bio-IT community.

And the winners are ...

Winners from the 2003 and 2004 Best Practices Awards
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology Core Lab
  • Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals
  • Iconix Pharmaceuticals
  • Infinity Pharmaceuticals
  • Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, France
  • Locus Pharmaceuticals
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals
  • Perlegen Sciences
  • Pfizer/Entelos
  • Pharmacia (Pfizer)
  • Roche Diagnostics
  • Solutia Pharmaceutical Services
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • SurroMed
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Wyeth
We are, understandably, proud of this record, while recognizing it is but a drop in the bucket of efforts to advance biomedical research and improve healthcare. Yet even our small drop has had an effect. Consider these comments from one of our first-year winners, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the clinical trial research category for a data collection and knowledge management system:

"Our participation has proved beneficial in several ways. First, it has provided a high-profile vehicle for sharing some of the ways we have been able to use current technologies to improve and enhance how catastrophic childhood diseases are captured and reported. Further, [the] recognition helped to increase institutional awareness regarding our current success and the potential for greater returns on investment over the short and long term," said Bill Smith, project manager.

Recently, we were able to put a University of Leipzig (UL) researcher in contact with a Scripps Research Institute researcher after he asked for more information upon reading an extract of Scripps' 2004 Best Practices entry, describing efforts to identify sepsis biomarkers, that had appeared in our monthly Best Practices newsletter. We also provided the UL researcher with the full text of the Scripps entry.

These are modest accomplishments, but they nonetheless represent Bio·IT World's commitment to play a role in identifying important new technologies and success strategies, and our commitment to sharing that information.

In preparation for the 2005 Best Practices Awards program, we have refreshed the Web site explaining the program and entry process, added a list of dos & don'ts developed from past experience, and posted a sample entry as guidance.

We've also expanded the number of categories. They include Drug Manufacturing, Infrastructure (IT Hardware and Systems Software), Lab Automation, Discovery Tools and Equipment, Computational Biology and Informatics, Knowledge Management and Collaboration, Regulatory Compliance, Business Strategies, and Promising Young Company. Once again, an outside panel of experts will choose the winners, and our gala awards ceremony and dinner will again be held at the National Press Club.

The deadline for entries is March 15, and I urge all of you to consider submitting entries. It delivers good PR for your company, added leverage for your project, broader exposure for your career development, and important, useful feedback for the industry. E-mail me at* 


For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact Angela Parsons, 781.972.5467.