June 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 11)
Acquisition of InforSense Laid Groundwork for New Phenotypic- and Genomic-Focused Product
When Neil Kipling started IDBS in 1989, running ten 96-well microtiter plates was considered a high-throughput screening (HTS) operation. Even then, the company’s first product, ActivityBase Suite, a platform built to handle data generated by HTS in a contextualized manner, “was a mold breaker for the pharmaceutical industry,” says Chris Molloy, vp of corporate development at IDBS.
ActivityBase analyzes data and stores it alongside protocol information to drive better decision making in the discovery stage of research and development. As the capacity of HTS soared, ActivityBase continued to keep pace with the deluge of data coming from microtiter plates run by robotic systems. “ActivityBase remains the gold standard for high-throughput experiments.”
Kipling studied microbiology, but early in his career worked as a data analyst for financial organizations. He applied his knowledge of gathering, integrating, and using financial data to R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, where the value of huge amounts of scientific data was not fully exploited. ActivityBase helped to revolutionize drug discovery by allowing researchers to screen millions of compounds and microplates with increased data analysis to better identify structures of interest. The software suite supports target discovery and validation, hit identification, and lead identification and optimization.
Then in 2005, IDBS branched out to make electronic laboratory notebooks from a different perspective than other vendors’ products. The company’s experience in data management led to the E-WorkBook Suite. This platform expanded the functionality of existing laboratory notebooks. It captures and analyzes data, handles tasks and workflows, and gives insights into the scientific process.
E-WorkBook consolidates data from disparate disciplines and sources, including laboratory instruments, LIMS systems, statistical analysis, graphical and text-based sources, and human observations under one secure environment.
E-WorkBook was rapidly taken up and used across extremely diverse workflows in pharmaceutical and industrial R&D settings, including researchers working in consumer products, material sciences, engineering, and manufacturing. “All of these markets have the same problem—producing large amounts of data without the ability to integrate and process it efficiently,” Molloy says.
IDBS added ScienceLink in 2011, an open platform that delivers scientific content from a range of third parties. Using a free plug-in to E-WorkBook, scientists can select internal and licensed information sources and integrate the knowledge with their data. Although ScienceLink is free for users of E-WorkBook, they may need to obtain licenses in order to access some source materials.
More and more organizations are externalizing data for global research groups to share. Shire uses the E-WorkBook Suite to eliminate on-site data storage, improve collaboration, and reduce bottlenecks among its CROs.
A sophisticated security model within E-WorkBook protects data in a cloud-based computer environment. E-WorkBook is also accepted as a standard in GLP and GMP laboratories because it offers a high level of regulatory quality, Molloy explains.
Process development and quality control workflows are also supported by IDBS’ Bioprocess Execution System. Lonza uses the Bioprocess Execution System to manage mammalian cell culture process development. The data-management system integrates and optimizes bioprocess workflows and targets process optimizations.
IDBS acquired InforSense in 2009, and its new Biomarker Discovery and Validation Solution, launched in 2010, is based on InforSense and E-WorkBook. This new platform is the first infrastructure to manage, analyze, and visualize phenotypic and genomic data, according to Molloy.
“There’s no shortage of technology for generating clinical and genomic data, but it’s the integration and analysis that will drive better patient outcomes and targeted therapeutics to improve healthcare,” Molloy adds. IDBS also works with researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic, and other leading institutions to identify biomarkers for various tumors.
In March 2011, IDBS announced its newest product, ORIS. Kings Health Partners, a medical group in London, is using ORIS to personalize medical analytics in the clinic. Patient data, clinical genomics, and other diagnostic information will be integrated and analyzed to identify cohorts of cancer patients and target their treatment.
“We built a complete enterprise architecture for personalized medicine. It’s the first time that such analytics will be available to clinicians. And it’s another example of the evolution of our company,” Molloy notes.