January 13, 2003
| A New Year heralds new hope and inevitably brings with it new challenges.
In this special series to mark the first issue of 2003, Bio·IT World profiles 10 life science organizations — spanning a range of cultures, philosophies, and locations — that are implementing IT in exciting and innovative ways. Of the hundreds of organizations we could have selected from, these 10 examples appear to us particularly noteworthy.
Among the big pharmas, Eli Lilly is often singled out for its forward-looking approach to IT implementation. Another pharmaceutical titan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, is establishing a major new research center in Cambridge, Mass., where it hopes the functional genomics unit will replenish its drug pipeline. While Novartis is expanding, ArQule faces the huge challenge of sustaining its progressive IT platform in the face of sharp cutbacks in staff.
Hardware is an essential component of many bio-IT innovators. BioNumerik is developing cancer drugs with the help of two Cray supercomputers, while Perlegen Sciences is pushing the storage envelope to manage the production of terabytes of image data every week.
On the software side, the Hartwell Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is a good example of the role of academia in developing leading software tools, in this case to aid the molecular profiling of cancers. In London, Inpharmatica is using state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools developed by Professor Janet Thornton's group to uncover protein families and aid drug discovery.
In the clinical arena, Quintiles — the world's largest contract research organization — is grappling with electronic data capture to speed up clinical trials. ILEX Oncology illustrates how a drug discovery concern can build its own information management system to aid the implementation and running of clinical trials. And north of the border, the Canadian Public Health Information System is making progress toward complete electronic health record surveillance — a harbinger of things to come States-side, perhaps.
We fully recognize that many more cases of bio-IT innovation warrant similar attention and exposure, which is why Bio·IT World is proudly launching its inaugural "Best Practices" awards program to showcase the most creative and valuable implementation of technology in the fields of drug discovery, drug development, and clinical trials. We encourage your organization to take part — full details can be found at www.bio-itworld.com/bestpractices.
PHOTO CHARLY FRANKLIN/TAXI