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Shire Adds Hosted Version of IDBS' E-WorkBook to Support 'Virtual Model' for Drug Discovery

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By Vivien Marx

IDBS said this week that biopharmaceutical firm Shire will use its E-WorkBook Suite to support a "virtual model for pharmaceutical research."

IDBS is implementing the electronic lab notebook suite as a hosted solution in collaboration with IT firm Quantix.

Shire will use the hosted E-WorkBook solution in collaborations with contract research organizations. Because the hosted approach will not require on-site data storage, it will reduce the IT footprint for both Shire and its CRO partners, IDBS said. The deployment will give participants access to remote data and will also enable them to streamline knowledge transfer between organizations.

Shire is a new customer for IDBS, Chris Molloy, vice president of corporate development for IDBS, told BioInform this week via e-mail.

E-WorkBook is a platform to capture, manage, and share research data. The hosted solution includes a security model that "addresses concerns around cloud computing" so multiple CROs and other partners can share data, the company said.

"Shire is pleased to take a leadership role in implementing this emerging business model of virtualized drug research, which uses new technologies to support novel working practices, improve collaboration, and speed the exploratory projects research," Stephen Damment, senior vice president of biosciences at Shire, said in a statement.

Shire declined to provide further comment.

In this project, Shire and each of its CRO partners will be able to use E-WorkBook in a slightly different way for the capture, securing, and review of data, Molloy said. They will "see only the data that they need to, while all the resultant IP remains fully protected and owned by Shire," he explained.

IDBS said that it has previously implemented a multi-site hosted environment for E-WorkBook with customers such as Australia's Cancer Therapeutics CRC, where it is used by separate sites and groups to manage part of an overall research process.

Other undisclosed pharma companies have also implemented E-Workbook this way, often in configurations with infrastructure-as-a-service suppliers behind the company firewall, Molloy said.

The implementation is configured in order to "reassure companies that their electronic collaboration systems will not leak IP to third parties and that their data-management infrastructure will be able to handle the size and complexity of the growing external research environment," Molloy said.

Molloy said that since IDBS acquired InforSense last year, "we have taken the lead in demonstrating how to successfully integrate industry-leading [electronic lab notebook] and analytic technologies." For example, he said together the firms launched the "world's first biomarker ELN" in February and "already have made multiple sales."

He acknowledged that the merger of Accelrys and Symyx, announced earlier this month (BI 4/9/2010), will present some competition. Accelrys offers the Pipeline Pilot workflow software, which competes with the InforSense technology, and Symyx brings its own ELN to the combined entity.

The merged firms "will still be a strong competitor in some chemistry market sectors but IDBS remains highly differentiated," he said. "Our breadth of domain understanding, robust technologies, and ability to be a strategic player in higher-growth markets such as regulated studies, biomarker R&D, and research biology clearly illustrates our differences."

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