The major challenges being addressed are, not surprisingly, the genomic data flood, cost containment, target validation, and early assessment of drug leads.
Some vendors, including Cytel Software, Groove Networks, ID Business Solutions, Insightful, NuGenesis, SPSS, and Thermo Electron, have focused hard on particular areas. These companies have made rapid progress addressing some extremely difficult, though seemingly basic, problems such as document management, data analysis, and text mining.
Meanwhile, companies including Capital Technology Information Services, LION Bioscience, IBM, Ingenuity Systems, and Entelos are attacking broader problems such as data integration, in silico modeling, and knowledge management. Based on the pool of entrants, all these approaches are beginning to show tangible results.
The growing role of information technology in drug discovery and development is well documented by the large number of leading IT vendors, including Dell, EMC, IBM, Microsoft, Network Appliance, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems, whose products were cited as key "success factors" among the entries. IBM, in particular, supplied an impressive array of hardware and software on at least three projects — Celera, Indiana University, and San Diego Supercomputer Center — testament to its life science dedication.
Other companies, such as Documentum and SAS, are providing tools that are fundamental to many industries, but evolving to meet the needs of this particular field.