Accenture and Merck have sought to collaborate with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the development of a cloud-based informatics research platform designed to help organisations in the life sciences industry improve productivity, efficiency and innovation in the early stages of drug development.
The platform will enable an ecosystem that accelerates innovation by creating open, industry-standard application programming interfaces for core research functions, allowing researchers to rapidly adopt new capabilities. Scientific application providers, content providers and technology innovators will benefit from lower barriers to entry as they bring new capabilities to market, helping life sciences companies re-imagine processes, user experiences, and approaches to data-intensive research.
The need for a cloud-based environment for businesses is becoming essential, particularly within research and development to boost collaboration and the development of new treatments and personalised care plans through the use of advanced data and analytics.
The platform will allow life sciences researchers and informatics professionals to quickly aggregate, access and analyse research data from multiple applications. Data will now be accessible through a single set of interfaces, with integrated workflow, reporting and analytics capabilities. Incorporating a modern user interface and a secure, multi-tenant environment, the platform will unify user experience elements and enable easier collaboration across the research and development (R&D) enterprise, including with external partners.
“In the research space, there’s been a tendency to underinvest in technology,” explained Brad Michel, managing director of Accenture Scientific Informatics Services in a video released by the company. “A lot of the infrastructure is in some cases 20 years old. A lot of the technology can be very fragmented – sometimes homegrown, custom systems – and that’s creating an environment where the systems are having trouble keeping up with the breakthroughs in modern science.”
“Pharmaceutical and biotech R&D is evolving rapidly, with advances in biological sciences generating an increase in the volume and diversity of research data.
“Understanding the industry’s need to drive faster, more efficient and more innovative scientific research, we are pleased to collaborate with Merck and AWS to launch the platform and associated ecosystem to help our clients accelerate the discovery of new, targeted treatments for patients,” he added.
Merck will be the first pharmaceutical company to use the platform.
“The convergence of numerous scientific and technological advances provides unprecedented opportunities to translate novel insights into human disease biology into meaningful therapies. Capitalising on these opportunities requires an ability to rapidly find and explore associations across data sets that are increasing dramatically in size and number,” commented Joe Miletich, senior vice president of research at Merck.
“Our collaboration will create a scientific technology marketplace providing the capabilities our researchers need to extend our tradition of scientific innovation, enabling our mission of bringing new breakthrough therapies to the patients who need them.”
Built on AWS, the platform will leverage its secure cloud services to help increase operational efficiency, strengthen business intelligence, and quickly develop innovative products and services.
“Pharmaceutical companies are seeking ways to adopt a cloud-first strategy to enhance and advance their R&D drug discovery practices, and we’re thrilled to be at the leading edge of these efforts as we work with Accenture to launch a new industry platform,” observed Mike Clayville, vice president, Worldwide Commercial Sales and Business Development, Amazon Web Services, Inc.
This new platform is one of the outcomes of the ongoing collaboration between Accenture and AWS through the Accenture AWS Business Group.
Accenture is also forming a coalition of clients to govern and further advance the capabilities of this platform, offering an opportunity for pre-competitive industry collaboration. The platform is available to pharmaceutical, biotech and scientific research organisations that are seeking unique approaches to solve research informatics challenges.