In his three-blog series based on interviews with industry experts, Scott Hluhanich explores the state of pharma.
In his final blog, Scott looks at whether a single platform could be the way forward for your organization.
Informatics platforms have measurable benefits including fast time-to-value, lower up-front costs, and capabilities that can be spun-up and spun-down as needed. But there are drawbacks, too, and they should be considered to ensure that you are ultimately getting the best solution for your company.
“You have to have your decisions be driven off very specific use cases. You have to define what you want your system to do. Otherwise, you end up buying something that may not have the depth of what it is you actually need,” says Joseph Rajarao, client engagement manager at IDBS.
“There may be needs that you haven’t anticipated that the system won’t be able to accommodate, so there’s always that fear that you’re somehow constraining yourself in the future,” Scott Weiss, vice president of product strategy at IDBS, explains. But, he adds, by understanding the essentials, companies can mitigate those risks. For example:
- Do you need a system to replace paper lab notebooks and manage the unstructured scientific narrative but capture chemical reactions and stoichiometry while providing future looking capabilities such a biomolecule rendering and registration?
- Do you need a system to perform advanced data analysis, curve fitting, and statistical analysis while ensuring data integrity and IP protection?
- Do you need complete end-to-end workflows that enforce business rules, eliminate deviations from the analytical method or lab SOP and ensure compliance?
- Do you need a system that protects IP generated internally whilst providing for external collaboration?
- Are you in a pharma company and need all the above? Or are you part of a startup and need a simple system now but one that provides capabilities that you can leverage in the future?
Whichever group you belong to – be aware.
According to Weiss, “there are definitely caveats and you do need to shop around. There are a lot of claims on the market and companies need to do their homework to make sure they’re getting the right package, the right value, and the right components they need to be successful.” And, he adds, “often vendors will make claims and promises that say they’ll be able to match future needs, only to come up short”.
To protect yourself, it is helpful to evaluate the vendor’s reputation, awards, and financial stability (often seen as yearly revenue). It is also helpful to determine the ease of integrating the platform to your systems and to the vendor’s own modules. Lastly, as it is people who make the difference, it is important to identify the experience, location, and domain expertise of the services team that helps you deploy your project.
In summary, keeping up with the changes that will help a new drug through development and onto commercialization is often a challenge for companies big and small. Single platforms that span research and development, provide a single-source-of-truth for the experimental record, improve operational efficiency, and reduce mistakes can help.