YouTube Facebook LinkedIn Google+ Twitter Xinginstagram rss  

Special Report: Best Practices

After a two-year hiatus, Bio-IT World’s Best Practices competition returned in 2008 with a vengeance.

July 14, 2008 | The Best Practices awards were introduced in 2003—designed to put on a pedestal outstanding examples of solutions and partnerships positively impacting various facets of the R&D and drug discovery industries. With so much bleak news swirling around the world of big pharma, it is important to find ways to highlight outstanding innovative applications of software, technology, and IT spurring advances and efficiencies across the value chain.

This year’s contest drew a record 56 entries, from all facets of the life sciences industry. Last fall, we sent out the call for entries for exceptional practices and solutions benefiting the biosciences value chain, from basic research to clinical trials. We encouraged direct entries as well as nominations from users and vendors alike. Those entries were grouped into seven discrete categories. 

We next assembled an outstanding panel of a dozen expert judges to assess the quality of the entries and independently evaluate each submission. Over two days of deliberations, the judges applied several criteria to gauge the significance of each entry, including the level of innovation; the purported demonstration of ROI, and the potential impact of the solution across the industry. The winners emerged following independent grading of all 56 entries. An eighth award—the Editors’ Choice Award—went to the entry that the magazine editors felt fully epitomized the values.

The awards were presented at a gala dinner midway through this year’s Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston (see “Best Practices,” Bio-IT World, June 2008). More than 200 invited guests joined Bio-IT World editors, judges, honorees, and CHI president Phillips Kuhl for the award announcements and presentations. The audience also heard guest speeches from Colin Hill, CEO of Gene Network Sciences, and one of our more distinguished alums, Dietrich Stephan, co-founder of Navigenics and a 2005 awardee.

In their speeches, Hill and Stephan outlined the impact that disruptive technologies such as systems biology, pathway modeling, next-generation sequencing, and personal genomics will have on the biopharma industry and the future of health care. It was a fitting introduction to the awards themselves.

The 2008 Best Practices program was made possible with the help of generous support from Blue Arc and Microsoft, to which we extend our sincere thanks.  On the following pages, we present profiles and interviews with each of the eight winning entries in this year’s Best Practices competition.

Our congratulations go to all of this year’s winners, the organizations that received Honorable Mentions (see p. 28), and indeed all of the entries for 2008. We hope you will consider participating when the 2009 contest kicks off this October.

--Kevin Davies, Allison Proffitt, John RussellBio-IT World



Basic Research & Development
Applied Bio's Automated Genotyping Pipeline
An innovative pipeline for the identification of common susceptibility variants of functional significance for complex diseases.
Applied Biosystems and the Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany 

Clinical Research
Lilly Creates Standards for Technology Adoption
SAS Drug Development—part of a global strategy to deliver drugs to patients faster, and to manage implementation of the SAS solution and strategic partnership.
Eli Lilly (nominated by SAS)

Clinical Trials
GSK Moving Upstream with Signal Detection

Clinical Trials Signal Detection—enabling robust and efficient safety signal detection in clinical trials from phase 1 onward.
GlaxoSmithKline (nominated by Lincoln Technologies)

Drug Discovery & Development
Sirtris and Genstruct Pursue the Fountain of Youth 
Causal Network Modeling (CNM) platform for systems biology, helping characterize the molecular MOA of novel bioactive, SIRT1-activating drugs.
Genstruct and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals

IT and Informatics
Playing it SAFE is a Leadership Move for AstraZeneca 
Implementation of the FDA’s electronic submissions gateway with SAFE digital signatures.
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (nominated by SAFE-BioPharma)

Knowledge Management
AstraZeneca Invests in Data, Discovery Management
IBIS—AstraZeneca’s tool to standardize screening data globally and make it available to all AZ sites.
AstraZeneca Discovery

Translational and Personalized Medicine
Merck-Moffit Partnership Breaks Down Silos 
Building a biomarker information pipeline that automates the flow and integration of patient care data and gene expression data, in conjunction with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa.

Editor’s Choice Award
Connecting the Cancer Community caBIG Time
caBIG—the Cancer Bioinformatics Grid—connecting the cancer community through a shareable, interoperable infrastructure, with 40+ end-user applications for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating research.
National Cancer Institute

Project Summaries of All Entries 



Sandy Aronson — Harvard Partners Center Genetics and Genomics
Howard Asher — Global Life Sciences
Deborah Borfitz — Contributing Editor
Chris Connor —H ealth Industry Insights
Al Doig — Cambridge Healthtech Institute
Keith Elliston — Genstruct
Stephen Fogelson — Develotron
Jim Golden — SAIC
Stan Kachnowski — Indian Institute of Technology
Phillips Kuhl — Cambridge Healthtech Institute
Jerry Schindler — Merck
Susie Stephens — Eli Lilly
Susan Ward — Consultant
John Whittle — Tessella



56  Record-setting number of Best Practices entries
8 Winners of 2008 Best Practices Awards
2  Corporate Underwriters (Blue Arc and Microsoft) 
220 Guests at the Best Practices Awards Dinner, April 29, Boston



The 2009 Awards will kick off this October when the call for entries goes live. We will collect entries for 4 months before judging begins. Please visit for more information.


Judging of Best Practices is taken very seriously. While the quality of the winning entries typically shines through, the judges’ task is complicated by a number of entries that fail to do the underlying quality justice. You can help your chances by following some simple guidelines:

•          DO remember the ROI. We cannot judge the potential impact or effect of a Best Practice submission if the entry doesn’t explain qualitatively (and ideally quantitatively) how it benefitted the host or user organization.

•          DON’T repurpose marketing material. Shockingly, some of the entries we receive are poorly disguised press releases.

•          DO follow the guidelines. We offer specific guidelines on word length, figure limits, etc. for a reason. We can’t make a valid assessment on a two-page entry, nor can the judges wade through a 20-page thesis. Follow the format.

•          DON’T submit a new product. The competition seeks to recognize partnerships and innovative deployments of new technology, not mere descriptions of a standalone product or resource.



This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.

Subscriptions are free for qualifying individuals.  Apply Today.






Click here to login and leave a comment.  


Add Comment

Text Only 2000 character limit

Page 1 of 1

For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact Angela Parsons, 781.972.5467.