April 25, 2012 | BOSTON—Bio-IT World announced the winners of its eighth Best Practices Awards competition this morning in a plenary session at the 2012 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston.

Grand Prize winners from five life sciences awards categories included entries from three big pharma companies—Merck, Pfizer, and Merck KGaA (Germany)—and two genomics organizations, BGI Shenzhen and the University of Utah/Omicia.

In addition, the Judges’ Prize was awarded to Bristol-Myer Squibb, while the Editors’ Choice Award was given to Elizabeth Worthey & her colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin for the Carpe Novo clinical genome analysis platform.

“We extend our sincere congratulations to the winners of this year’s Bio-IT World Best Practices Awards competition” said Kevin Davies, editor of Bio-IT World. “Our select judges enjoyed evaluating the dozens of excellent entries received this year, and believe that the contest has highlighted some truly innovative, game-changing tools and solutions. Our winners should be very proud that they have captured the imagination and respect of such a distinguished jury.”

The Bio-IT World’s Best Practices Awards program was established in 2003 by the editors of Bio-IT World to recognize organizations for their outstanding innovations and excellence in the use of technologies and novel business strategies that will advance biomedical and translational research, drug development, and/or clinical trials.

Bio-IT World’s Best Practices Awards ceremony was this morning at the World Trade Center in Boston. The awards presentations were co-hosted by Phillips Kuhl, co-founder and president of Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI), and Kevin Davies, editor-in-chief of Bio-IT World.

A panel of ten invited expert judges peer reviewed 47 detailed submissions from organizations ranging from large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to academic institutions and niche service providers around the world, detailing best practices in five categories as well as two special awards from the judges and the editors.

The Grand Prize trophies were presented to the following organizations within these categories:

  • Clinical & Health IT: PFIZER

Pfizer REMOTE Virtual Clinical Trial Pilot—Novel Technology Integration to Improve Clinical Trial Access and Convenience

(Work done in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco; Mytrus; ExcoInTouch; Perceptive Informatics; and Greenphire)

The first‐ever clinical trial under an IND that employs a new Participatory Patient-Centered (PPC) model, allowing patients to be recruited and participate remotely, regardless of proximity to clinical sites, and to receive results that can be incorporated into personal health records.

  • Informatics: MERCK & Co.

Replacing Traditional Fetal Skeletal Evaluations in Reproductive Toxicology Utilizing Micro-CT Imaging

Initiative to replace traditional inspections of stained skeletons with digital images from micro‐computed tomography studies, an important aspect of preclinical safety studies.


A Flexible Green Cloud Computing Framework for Genome de novo Assembly and Re-sequencing Analysis

The development of two high-performance cloud-compatible software tools, Hecate and Gaea, for de novo mammalian genome assembly, sequence alignment and biomarker discovery, and used by BGI and its many collaborators.

  • Knowledge Management: MERCK KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany)


A ‘wisdom of the crowds’ program to mobilize the innovation potential of all Merck KGaA employees for generation of new innovative products, resulting in nearly a dozen new initiatives thus far

  • Personalized & Translational Medicine: UNIVERSITY of UTAH and OMICIA Inc.

VAAST: a probabilistic disease—gene finder for personal genomes

A novel algorithm to identify disease-causing mutations combining predictive and frequency information, proven in the identification of the gene for Ogden Syndrome.


Leveraging ELN (electronic lab notebooks) to Improve Chemistry Lab Safety

A novel ELN-based approach to efficiently push safety alerts to research chemists and safety committees and flag ‘near miss’ accidents to prevent more serious incidents

  • Editors’ Choice Award: MEDICAL COLLEGE of WISCONSIN (Liz Worthey & her colleagues)

Carpe Novo

A special award for Carpe Novo, an in-house clinical genome informatics solution for studying the DNA sequence of patients to identify causative mutations and end diagnostic odysseys.

Criteria and Judging

Awards finalists and winners were selected for their innovative use of bio-IT, including life science equipment, informatics, and information technology, on a project or organizational level to achieve significantly improved results (i.e. improvements in productivity or conceptual breakthroughs in scientific understanding or process methodology). The judges rated entries on several criteria, including innovation, importance, return on investment and likely industry impact, seeking stories that spotlighted the practical and positive deployment of novel technologies in academic, medical or commercial organizations.