Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2005 Life Science Insights Top Ten List

LifeScience Insights released their "Top Ten List" (registration required) of predictions about Life Science in 2005. They focus on the IT division of Life Science (computational biology, bioinformatics, bioIT). Overall the predictions are positive, especially for bioIT (see #4), but I can't say I agree with a part of their top 10 (points #2 and 7, in particular). The whole top 10 is available in the full post!

Note that they also have an overview of bioIT for 2004.

1. Technology growth later in the value chain
Technology spending will increase relatively more in downstream processes, such as clinical trial management systems, electronic data capture, and electronic lab notebooks.

2. Disaggregation happens
Big pharma IT divisions are moving away from the “mother ship” model. “Individual business units are making more and more IT decisions,” said Golden. Any vendor with a solution can at least “get their foot in the door.”

3. Innovation will happen - somewhere else
R&D will increasingly become a target for economies, as pharmas look to outsource discovery programs to China, India, and Singapore. “Can we outsource medicinal chemistry and target discovery?” will be a key question in Golden’s mind. There will also be growing emphasis on capturing external innovation, for example in the form of literature mining.

4. The line between IT and drug discovery . . . will continue to blur
“Computational biology will go away,” said Golden, “because most biology will be computational.” He said this item could have been subtitled “Genomics doesn’t matter…” As aging pharma veterans retire, there will be a warmer reception for in silico prediction tools, although Golden said he still believes drug discovery is more an art than a science.

5. Thus, the rise of the Pharma CIO
This position will have a larger seat at the R&D table. While CIOs managing non-core businesses will be spending more time in Asia, funding sources will increasingly come from both corporate IT and the business unit itself.

6. Data standards will drive a fragmented industry
Although not required, a growing number of standards including SDTM (study data tabulation model), SAFE (secure access for everyone), and SEBIX (secure electronic biopharmaceutical information exchange) for submitting and managing clinical data will become “de rigueur.”

7. The curse of Eliot Spitzer
IT organizations are scrambling to comply with a growing list of regulatory mandates and meet deadlines. “Pharma lawsuits by states’ attorney generals will drive a new market for compliance software, and make Sarbanes-Oxley look like a picnic,” said Golden. Look for biopharmas to hire a CCO - Chief Compliance Officer.

8. Pharmacovigilance
The buzzword for the next few years, thanks to the Vioxx withdrawal and suspicion over other blockbuster drugs. “Pharmacovigilance is a problem of data integration,” said Golden, who offered a broad definition that included toxicogenomics, adverse event reporting, and regulatory compliance. “The FDA will want it; regulators will demand it; pharmas, biotechs, and the NIH will struggle to build it,” he said. The first vendor to offer a comprehensive solution, probably within the next 18 months, will own the space.

9. Lost on the NIH Roadmap
The 2002 NIH Roadmap, proposed by director Elias Zerhouni, could lead to a dramatic, but welcome, reduction in the number of NIH institutes, with other government agencies looking to fill the void. Golden sees a growing role for venture philanthropists such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

10. Venture capital is back. We’ve missed you
“The pendulum is slowly swinging back to tools and platforms,” Golden said. He asked why VC firms tend only to look at MIT and Stanford? “I’d pitch a tent in Madison, Wisconsin, and probably make a lot of money,” said Golden. The successful $3-billion California embryonic stem cell initiative could bolster Series A financing.

Thanks @ Bio-IT World.



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