March 7, 2002
Christopher Ahlberg, Ph.D.
Technology Hasn’t Paid Off … Yet
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life sciences?
Ahlberg: Spotfire has been working in the life sciences for five years. We saw an enormous opportunity in how the focus and resources of life science research was moving from generating and collecting data to turning data into better decisions on compounds and targets. Our technology was a good fit, addressing areas from genomics to chemistry to patient data.
What is your vision for the development of the life sciences market?
Ahlberg: I think there are amazing opportunities to address the R&D process in a fundamental way. To date, money has been invested in data generation technology and data collection, but very little has actually happened to show for it. Bluntly, R&D budgets have increased while fewer new products have actually been put to market. One could argue that results will come in time, but I think pharmaceutical R&D will face a different world ahead, requiring new ways to deal with decisions and information. My personal motivation is simple: I want Spotfire to be part of changing that world!
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
Ahlberg: I think we’ve been able to bring together a team of software and life sciences people with a stronger set of computer science people than most companies serving the life sciences. We have strong thinkers in biology and chemistry, and we have close interaction with formal customer advisory boards at multiple levels, which guides us to customer-focused solutions.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
Ahlberg: We offer a unique analytic application called Spotfire DecisionSite that has been successfully applied, both in standard and preconfigured versions, to the whole life sciences product value chain. Specific, preconfigured analytic applications are available in Lead Discovery and Functional Genomics.
DecisionSite is unique in three ways: First, it’s super-configurable based on the latest standards around XML and Web services, meaning you can hook up DecisionSite to any data source as well as configure analytical task-flows in flexible ways. Second, it comes in prepackaged flavors called DecisionSite for Functional Genomics and DecisionSite for Lead Discovery, which contain all the tools, workflows, and data connections needed for researchers in the respective domains. Third, it offers a highly interactive user experience that enables what we call “nonstop what-if” analysis.
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