Developing a new drug can cost millions of dollars and require years of research. The quicker a pharmaceutical company gets a product to market, the less time and money it spends on R&D and the faster it can begin to earn a return on its investment.
Technologies that can speed up a drug's trial period and more quickly analyze its odds of success can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
Quintiles knows that firsthand. The $4.8 billion company provides clinical research services to the pharmaceutical industry. Among other things, Quintiles plans and monitors clinical trials, recruits patients for trials and submits materials to regulatory agencies.
For the past four years the Cambridge, Mass.-based company has worked to create an integrated suite of software modules to handle all phases of drug research, development and trials.
Its software platform, Infosario, integrates the data and processes associated with a drug's life cycle and includes a data engine to collect, clean and prepare data for analysis. The data can be combined with clinical research data and information from other sources to provide predictive analysis.
Formally launched in 2010, Infosario uses elements from Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, Siebel's CRM system, SAS Analytics, Microsoft SQL Server and Informatica's Master Data Management system, as well as Tibco's Spotfire data discovery and visualization tool. At its core is the Quintiles Data Factory, which contains the data operations and collection tools for extracting and organizing clinical and operational data from other repositories.
An executive at a Quintiles customer, a major pharmaceutical company, notes that the traditional method of planning a drug trial involves examining data from prior trials to develop the best approach. Infosario allows the company to design drug trials more quickly and effectively.
The Quintiles Infosario system allows researchers to revisit decisions made earlier within the same drug trial. That's a big benefit, says Quintiles CIO Richard Thomas, because "clinical trials take six, seven years, so feedback loops collect a lot of data along the way."