First Genetic Trust said last week that it has been hired to create a customized pharmacogenomics IT platform for Pfizer — the company’s first such deal with a large pharmaceutical firm.
FGT also counts GlaxoSmithKline among its customers, but according to David Wholley, vice president of global marketing and development, that partnership “was around enabling a specific pharmacogenetic study, and this is more to do with providing a strategic infrastructure for enabling pharmacogenomics within Pfizer, although it is initially oriented around a set of studies.”
FGT will base the platform on its EnTrust web-based genetic banking system, which will help Pfizer integrate genomic information with samples, data, and informed consents from clinical trials. The system is CFR Part 11 compliant and highly secure, Wholley said, and offers distributed access for researchers across the company’s global sites as well as external collaborators.
The system relies on a common set of databases that “communicate with each other through encrypted links so that in no case can even an administrator tie identity information back to genotypic or phenotypic information,” Wholley said. The links allow researchers to perform queries based on any combination of genotype, phenotype, sample, disease, or type of consent while protecting the identity of the patient, he said.
Wholley said that FGT also provides the EnTrust capabilities in the form of a trusted third-party model as well, so that the company can manage a customer’s data and systems. In the case of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, however, FGT customizes the system to work with in-house technology. “They’ve got a tremendous amount of infrastructure already in place, and the idea is to leverage their available infrastructure, not to impose some new infrastructure that we have,” Wholley said. “It’s a combination of bringing to bear a set of core capabilities and components with existing function and then customizing that, both in terms of functionality and in terms of interfaces, so that it fits within the environment of the client.”
Due to a non-disclosure agreement with Pfizer, Wholley was unable to provide further details about FGT’s work with the company.