March 12, 2007
Michael E. Svinte
Vice President, Global Innovation, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences
How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many others companies did not?
IBM has adapted to the changing economic climate by embracing the ongoing transformation of healthcare and life sciences and by organizing and sponsoring activities to accelerate this change. During the past three years, we have hosted seven global Biobank and (Imaging) Biomarker summits. We believe that IT will play an increasingly important role in “Information Based Medicine.” Our focus is on the needs of all participants in the healthcare ecosystem, from Life Sciences Research to Biotechs, Pharmas, CRO’s, Regulatory Authorities, Providers, Payers, and Medical Device companies. Diverse and heterogeneous data are generated, playing to our strengths as infrastructure providers and our ability to collect, integrate, manage, and analyze the data. In addition, we help clients with extensive IT and Business Process Outsourcing offerings. There is also a well known challenge to traditional business models like Big Pharma’s “Blockbuster Model” and we are well positioned to support new paradigms like “Biomarker-based R&D” with our Consulting Services and IT solutions. Finally, IBM invests in computational biology research and has developed simulation capabilities based on IBM Blue Gene computer, the fastest supercomputer in the world.
What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?
IBM is very excited about the Life Sciences market and the potential we see over the next several years. As healthcare, life sciences, and pharma begin to converge, we believe a number of opportunities will emerge to deliver improved patient centric care and personalized medicine. New technologies and research techniques will play a major role in enabling this convergence and industry transformation. For example, with a better understanding of the molecular characteristics of disease, life sciences can help predict the safety and efficacy of new treatments more accurately. Also, treatments can be targeted at specific patient populations and capable of modifying or preventing disease, not just of alleviating the symptoms. Population genetics and biomedical research will help us to find new Biomarkers, and those Biomarkers will then be used to develop new medical treatments and diagnostics and applied to the clinical care of patients. Electronic Medical Records and Personal Health Records will support healthcare providers and enable greater efficiencies and improved patient outcomes.
What products and services does your company provide and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?
IBM offers customers a broad range of innovative technology, ranging from collaborative portal and messaging software to high-density blade servers and distributed storage grids. Open standard technology and service-oriented architecture (SOA) continue to play a key role in IBM products and solutions. IBM Life Sciences solutions include deep computing capacity with IBM Blue Gene, the world’s most powerful supercomputer; Biobanks for clinical genomics; and biomarker data that we’ve built in collaboration with academic medical research centers and Pharma R&D groups. IBM also helps customers with regulatory compliance and submissions with the IBM SCORE solution, which integrates, advanced document management with submission publishing and correspondence tracking. And, IBM Global Business Services and outsourcing capabilities assist leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?
IBM is working with variety of business partners to drive innovation and collaboration in Life Sciences solutions such as High Performance Computing, Biobanking, and Digital Pathology. Our relationship with Accelrys is one of many examples where we team on solution collaboration and technology optimization. We also work with leading medical research institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic and Karolinska Institute, to drive innovation in healthcare and life sciences.
What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?
IBM has many exciting projects in development including Project Checkmate, a partnership with IBM Research, Mt. Sinai, and Scripps Research Institute that utilizes high-throughput biology and high performance computing enabled by the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer to change how we address and attack new potential pandemic viral diseases. In addition, IBM is working with unstructured information analytics to change the way pharmaceutical companies and biomedical research institutions, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, access and analyze free text and images. We’re also working on microfluidics and soft lithography of biomolecules to enable “Lab on a Chip” and other assays using bionanotechnology. Additionally, IBM has been leading the way around imaging biomarkers and biobanking in healthcare and life sciences.
Where do you see your company in five years?
Five years from now we see IBM as the preferred partner to key stakeholders throughout the healthcare ecosystem to help deliver improved patient-centric care. IBM’s industry expertise, coupled with our innovative technology, will help bring a new era of personalized medicine to fruition enabled by Biomedical research, development of new medical treatments, and diagnostics. IBM will continue to advocate open standards and support the management and analysis of all kinds of diverse healthcare and life sciences data. In addition, we’ll continue to invest in projects that have the potential to benefit society, such as the Global Pandemic Initiative as well as innovative research projects now taking place in systems biology, medical imaging and proteomics.