PerkinElmer Joins Accenture's Open Partner Ecosystem

June 3, 2019

Editor's Note: The name of Accenture's platform has been corrected.

By Benjamin Ross

June 3, 2019 | When Accenture launched their cloud-based informatics research platform in September, Brad Michel, managing director of Accenture Scientific Informatics Services, told Bio-IT World that one of the integral parts of the platform, now called the INTIENT Research Platform, was its open partner ecosystem. The ecosystem, according to Michel, was designed to help solution providers, software vendors, and life sciences companies collaborate more effectively to accelerate drug discovery and improve patient outcomes.

"It creates a two-sided network, where biopharmaceutical companies will want to consume data and capabilities, and then there are solution companies that want to provide it," he said. "So the platform becomes a connector in that equation."

Generating buzz for the platform was crucial, Michel said, and the company would be "going through all the usual channels" to do so.

"You'll see us at the conferences, on the exhibit floors, connecting with our partners," Michel said. "Because we've talked to so many people about this over the years, we're at a point where people are expecting it. It becomes more real for them."

It certainly became real for PerkinElmer, who announced its enrolling into the ecosystem—now a part of the INTIENT Network—during the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo held in Boston in April.

PerkinElmer is making its informatics solutions compatible with Accenture's integrated ecosystem, starting with key functionality of electronic laboratory notebooks, TIBCO Spotfire software for data visualization in research and clinical analytics, and ChemDraw software, an application for chemistry-based analytics and workflows.

We caught up with David Wang, PerkinElmer's General Manager of Informatics, on the Expo floor, who told us that joining the ecosystem is in sync with PerkinElmer's strategy to deliver advanced informatics solutions that empower researchers to more quickly and easily spotlight key findings in the ever-growing volume, types, and complexity of scientific big data.

"Our business is really to help scientists be much more productive with their work," said Wang. "Bringing complementary yet different knowledge sets together to benefit life science organizations around the globe is what the open ecosystem is all about. Our informatic offerings at PerkinElmer help scientists accelerate breakthroughs from their big data, while Accenture brings their expertise in systems integration and tackling complex IT challenges."

Wang says this ecosystem addresses the issue within the pharma industry where each company has their bespoke system that doesn't interoperate with the rest of the industry, resulting in them building capabilities from the ground up.

"For example, I'm sure all of pharma, big or small, is wrestling with how to comply with the GDPR rules," Wang said. "And the thing is, why should everyone address that in their own rigid systems in a one-off basis? It makes no sense. I imagine a lot of our colleagues in pharma would much rather be spending their time on their next blockbuster drug."

The focus is shifting as pharma companies look for faster, cheaper ways to develop drugs. The ecosystem accelerates innovation by creating open, industry-standard APIs for core research functions, allowing researchers to rapidly adopt new capabilities. When we met up with Joe Donahue, Accenture's Managing Director in Life Sciences practice, he said pharma's R&D process has evolved.

"When I worked in the lab, I would synthesize compounds and just pass them down the hall to the next group of people. Everything happened on one floor," said Donahue. "Now, there's so much externalization in the research process, and that complicates where the data's coming from and how you manage and integrate it."

The externalization of data means more problems, but Donahue and Wang agree that it also allows smaller companies to separate themselves from the pack, which is something they—and the ecosystem—champion.

"We often look at the R&D pipeline as a funnel when we think about the drug candidates advancing through the R&D process," Donahue said. "You can also think of the number of technologies we use and the number of vendors the same way. As we go down through clinical, it starts to narrow, but on the research side there're a lot of companies and a lot of standards, and a lot of  smaller organizations with novel, innovative technologies that are trying to figure out how to break out."