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Software solution makes statistical graphics accessible across drug discovery.

By John Russell

Feb. 1, 2008 | Sharing graphs of clinical trial and preclinical data among diverse decision-makers is often challenging. Insightful Corp. has  tackled this problem with the launch of Insightful Clinical Graphics (iCG), a software solution for defining and repurposing statistical graphics across all functional areas in drug discovery, development, and marketing.

Key obstacles for sharing such graphs in the past have included: the unfamiliarity of non-statisticians stakeholders with necessary software and data tagging and manipulation techniques; a more generalized lack of ease-of-use characterizing those tools; and often cumbersome methods for converting graphs and data into different formats.

Insightful attempts to sidestep these issues by leveraging Web 2.0 social networking technology, user-friendly point-and-click interfaces, and automating much of the behind-the-scenes drudgery such as retaining necessary meta-tags.

The end result, “reduces the time and resources needed for graphical review and submission reporting of pre-clinical and clinical data, while providing consistent information flow between functional areas and regulatory agencies,” says Michael O’Connell, director of life sciences for Insightful. iCG should also reduce the demand on scarce statisticians who were sometimes called upon to facilitate data sharing rather than focus on critical data interpretation and trial design.

Productivity Focus
Insightful is targeting the top 50 pharma companies and says it has three early adopters using the product though he declined to name them. The graph sharing framework is available now, and being sold on a per seat basis and priced “not much differently” than market norms, according to O’Connell, who says only SAS has a somewhat similar offering.

The financial pressures prompting biopharma to cut costs and personnel has put a premium on productivity tools such as iCG. “If you go into a company that’s just laid off 10 percent of their workforce,  they are eager to get projects in place that drive productivity or drive early detection of any safety issues and so funding for projects [that leverage products such as iCG] has continued, though the sales cycle hasn’t changed,” says O’Connell.

He says there’s been considerable restructuring in Insightful’s account. “Our core user has been the statistical community. One trend we’ve seen over the last year or two is statisticians, rather than being in a central group, are being dispersed to therapeutic areas and are reporting into the business unit.”

Insightful also designed the new solution to handle regulatory requirement, so if you are in a compliant environment and inserting a graph into regulatory filings, it’s fairly easy for the software to grab necessary audit files.

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This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine. 
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