Notes from DIA: Microsoft Announces This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

Microsoft's Life Sciences Group has certainly grown, from 5 people when it was established seven years ago to 800 people today. The SharePoint platform, which allows users to customize solutions without having to play programmer is finding increased acceptance. Among new developments: At the DIA conference in Boston this week, TranSenda International LLC launched the beta of Office Smart Clinical Trials OSCT) Manager, incorporating SharePoint, which allows clinical trial professionals to use Microsoft Office tools, eliminating some of the drudgery of data entry and allowing remote, but secure access. "When conducting clinical trials, life sciences professionals often struggle with toggling in and out of different systems to input their data, and there's an ongoing challenge of knowing which spreadsheet is the 'single version of the truth," said Michael Naimoli US life sciences industry director, in the official press release. Mr. Naimoli comes, not from an IT background but from the industry. As Robert Webber, CEO of TranSenda International, developer of the software, explains in a recent white paper, the biggest challenges are:
  • Complex and proprietary user interfaces
  • Lack of operational data standardization and closed architecture
  • Inlexibility and minimal support for customization based on trial configuration.
  • More on some specifics soon. In the meantime, Microsoft announced winners of the Pharma and Life Sciences Innovation Award. They are : Discovery and Product Innovation: AstraZeneca and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. , for harmonizing disparate processes to record, track and manage a growing number of requests for compound screening. AstraZeneca implemented Thermo Scientific Nautilus Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) to centralize biochemical screenings, map laboratory workflows and dramatically drive efficiency through superior data management. Built on Microsoft’s Visual Studio .NET, Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS helped coordinate global requests, automate workflows and standardize screening. Within six months of the deployment, AstraZeneca reportedly realized a 180 percent efficiency gain across its laboratories from the centralized screening process. Sales and Marketing: Sanofi-Aventis and Brimstone are delivering real-time product information and clinical and patient support materials to communicate with physicians and other stakeholders across multiple channels. Clinical Development: The Scripps Research Institute and InterKnowlogy for a customized solution based on .NET Framework 3.0, SharePoint and Windows Vista, to display cellular, molecular and atomic levels in 2-D and 3-D, while providing tools for annotations. The result, judges say, was a newfound ability to link multiple kinds of data to an image, making it easier and faster to send information from experiments across the organization. Researchers now spend less time searching for data and more time developing potential treatment solutions.