2014 Bio-IT World Best Practices Award Winners Named

April 30, 2014

By Bio-IT World Staff 

May 1, 2014 | Bio-IT World announced the winners of its tenth annual Best Practices Awards competition yesterday morning in a plenary session at the 2014 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston.  

Grand prize winners were named in five life sciences categories highlighting best practices in clinical trial IT, research infrastructure, bioinformatics, cloud computing and data management from AstraZeneca and Tessella, U-BIOPRED, the Pistoia Alliance, Baylor College of Medicine, and Genentech.

In addition, a Judges’ Prize was awarded to the UK National Health Service and the Editors’ Choice Award was given to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Projects from AstraZeneca and TrialNetworks received honorable mention.

“We are delighted to honor these outstanding organizations for their forward-thinking approaches to solving the challenges facing the biomedical community today,” said Allison Proffitt, editor of Bio-IT World.  “For the ten years we have presented the Best Practices Awards, the innovation of our entrants has consistently surprised and impressed us. This year’s winners are advancing the life sciences in ways that deserve to be recognized and replicated.”

The Best Practices Awards program was established in 2003 by the editors of Bio-IT World to recognize information technology that advances basic biomedical research, drug discovery, and clinical trials. The ceremony took place this morning at the World Trade Center in Boston, where the awards were presented by Allison Proffitt and William Van Etten, a founding member of BioTeam.

A panel of ten invited expert judges joined the editors to select winners in five categories as well as two special awards from the judges and the editors. Grand prize trophies were presented to the following organizations in these categories:

Clinical & Health IT: AstraZeneca and Tessella  

Real Time Analytics for Clinical Trials (REACT) 

AstraZeneca’s REACT system, implemented with input from Tessella, tracks vital statistics, laboratory tests and adverse events on both population and subject-specific levels during the course of a clinical trial. By collecting this information together in a platform with flexible visualization and query features, as well as a complete profile for each patient, REACT allows AstraZeneca to respond rapidly to safety concerns and swiftly identify risk factors for adverse events, protecting trial participants while rescuing trials from costly late-stage failures.

IT Infrastructure & HPC: Baylor College of Medicine 

CHARGE: Large-Scale Genomic Analysis in the Cloud 

To fulfill its role in the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium, Baylor College of Medicine undertook the largest genome analytics project in the cloud to date, using the DNAnexus platform. Using DNAnexus allowed Baylor to annotate 4,000 whole genomes and 11,000 whole exomes in record time, without monopolizing the local compute cluster.

Research & Drug Discovery: U-BIOPRED 

tranSMART-Based U-BIOPRED Study 

Through the U-BIOPRED Knowledge Portal, built into the tranSMART platform for clinical and -omics data management, a consortium of over 30 partners from industry and academia were able to securely share longitudinal clinical, proteomic, and transcriptomic data on hundreds of respiratory disease patients in a search for key biomarkers.

Informatics: The Pistoia Alliance 

Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules (HELM) 

HELM is a system of standardized naming for complex biomolecules, which defines these molecules as rigorously as chemists have long defined simpler compounds. By describing biomolecules through a hierarchical sequence of monomers, the open source HELM technology allows researchers and organizations to rapidly enter, share, and modify molecules without ambiguity.   

Knowledge Management: Genentech 

Genentech Cell Line Resource 

Genentech’s centralized cell line bank contains over 1,800 cell lines, representing a total of 90,000 vials. By creating the gCell web platform to track and characterize these cell lines, Genentech has been able to create a genetic definition of each line, flag contamination and mislabeling, and curate new knowledge about individual cell lines to guide and optimize future research.

Editors’ Prize: The Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai 

Rethinking Type 2 Diabetes Through Topological Analysis 

In analyzing medical records and genetic data on over 11,000 patients with Type 2 Diabetes, Mt. Sinai used Ayasdi’s insight discovery platform, which draws correlations between diverse data points through topological analysis. By clustering cases together based on features shared by specific cohorts, Mt. Sinai arrived at a novel hypothesis that Type 2 Diabetes should be treated as three separate conditions with distinct contributing factors. This analysis suggests a precision medicine approach may be beneficial for treating Type 2 Diabetes.

Judges’ Prize: UK National Health Service 

Riak Deployment for Spine2 Distributed Database 

The Spine database connects patient and services information across 27,000 British organizations that provide NHS care. By implementing Basho’s open source Riak database for the Spine2 overhaul of this system, the NHS can now instantaneously update information on any of the 80 million patients it serves, such that the new information is visible to any care provider, while maintaining a leaner and more flexible IT infrastructure that can be managed entirely in-house.

The 2015 Bio-IT World Best Practices competition will begin soliciting entries in October 2014. Contact: Allison Proffitt: aproffitt@healthtech.com, 617-233-8280.