/ News

[Mar 2020] Industry news that captured our attention

Pharmas working together to solve COVID-19, Embracing the Cloud, COVID-19 high-speed diagnostic test, Proving ROI from AI and Pistoia Alliance's updated UDM.

Pharmas on one page with action plan to solve COVID-19 together
From Biocentury

TetraScience Take: It is exciting to see pharma companies working together to solve the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps it will unlock new ways of permanently working together (pre-competitively) to attack ongoing research in many therapeutic areas? We hope so! More good data + better tools = faster actionable insights

Excerpt: "A grand-scale behind-the-scenes effort by the pharmaceutical companies is under way to expedite the creation of therapies and vaccines to treat COVID-19.

According to the participants who spoke with BioCentury under conditions of anonymity, R&D heads from at least 10 companies have been gathering several times a week, setting in motion an action plan to use their top talent in different disciplines to produce an industry-wide response, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the private sector’s coordinated contribution during World War II.

Regulatory heads and manufacturing heads have been holding meetings as well, coordinating to minimize duplication of effort, streamline work and advance efficient testing of compounds and vaccines.

The R&D group is creating working principles to accelerate new COVID-19 therapies and vaccines agnostic to their market potential, eliminating bureaucratic and technical or scientific barriers, and focusing on filling gaps not adequately filled by other initiatives and which the consortium is uniquely suited to address." Full article

COVID-19 and Remote Work - The Catalyst to Transform IT & Fully Embrace the Cloud
From AtScale, by AtScale CEO & TetraScience Board Member Chris Lynch

TetraScience Take: The current extended work from home, virtual learning, social distancing situation to combat COVID-19 is going to drive adoption and normalization of innovations like telehealth and virtual conferences that have been on the cusp for a while now. TetraScience board member and CEO of AtScale, Chris Lynch, also thinks this is the catalyst that will drive organizations to finally fully embrace the cloud. In his conversations with customers, it is interesting that the ones who have not yet embraced the cloud are struggling with the remote work situation, while those who were already using the cloud were able to adapt quickly. We see a parallel with life sciences R&D cloud adoption. With many scientists asked to work from home, they can't do experiments in the lab. But they can spend time analyzing their data...if they can access it.

Excerpt: "I’ve been hearing interesting perspectives on how COVID-19 is making some ongoing challenges even more relevant in recent days. Customers have been telling me about IT departments struggling to keep up with the infrastructure demands of having their entire workforce working remotely. I’ve even talked to people at Fortune 500 companies who are being asked to stagger the hours when employees work so they don’t overload their networks, VPNs and IT staff. Just this morning I spoke to a colleague at a Fortune 50 financial institution that informed their staff “they should consider the current remote work arrangement as not temporary, but business as usual for the foreseeable future, at least through the end of April”. We are all adapting to this mode of engagement, communication, work, etc.; yet one thing that will struggle to adapt is the traditional infrastructure and strategy around supporting distributed work forces.

Frankly though, I’m not hearing this from the subset of organizations that have moved to IT services in the cloud. They can adapt quickly because the cloud offers flexibility and economies of scale, both in resources and knowledge. Leveraging a dynamic ecosystem means that they can adapt quickly to uncertainty or new conditions." Full blog post

Send your N95 masks to healthcare workers who need them now.
From Mask Match

TetraScience Take: As the fight against COVID-19 rages on, our front-line healthcare workers are rapidly running out of critical supplies, like N95 and surgical masks. If you have any of these supplies in your lab or in your personal disaster preparedness kit, we urge you to please donate. Contact your local hospital, or work with a service like Mask Match.

Excerpt: "How it works: Mask Match is a peer-to-peer platform helping people with spare N95 masks send them directly to healthcare workers on the front lines who need them. Their lives (and our lives) depend on it.

Many hospitals have had to limit the number of masks healthcare workers can use because there isn’t enough. Many are forced to go without due to lack of supply. While factories are rushing to produce more, getting masks to people will take time that many healthcare workers don’t have.

If you are a healthcare worker, fill out the “I need masks” form so we know who you are and where we need to send your masks.

If you have masks, fill out the “I have masks” form, and we’ll email you with a healthcare worker match so you can ship your masks directly to them." Website

From Newsweek

TetraScience Take: Between this announcement, and the March 17 announcement that Moderna began phase one clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, fellow MA life sciences firms are leading the way towards rapidly developing novel tools and treatments to help combat this pandemic. Let's all make sure we are taking the necessary precautions as well as pitching in however we can to assist them and all the healthcare practitioners on the front lines.

Excerpt: "Thermo Fisher Scientific spokesman Ron O'Brien told Newsweek that the company is planning to make enough kits to test up to five million people a week.

The company, which makes lab equipment, is selling two types of test kits. One has the capacity to diagnose up to 100 people and another that can diagnose as many as 1,000 people, he said.

"We plan to produce up to 5 million reactions per week. Each reaction has the potential to test one patient. The test will be available as part of a kit. Each kit can produce either 100 or 1000 reactions depending on the specific kit," he said.

He told The Boston Globe that hospitals and laboratories can order the test kits online immediately. They "should be able to start running the tests within a week," he added." Full story

4 Ways That You Can Prove ROI From AI
From Forbes

TetraScience Take: To be honest, we couldn't decide if this was a news story or just good content to recommend, so we've put it in both places. This is a great piece with actionable takeaways for anyone thinking about or executing an AI investment. The one thing that's missing is a recommendation to figure out your data strategy as part of the AI investment. Without an investment in data engineering, any data science or AI initiative will not thrive. Here's our full takeaway.

Excerpt: "...your access to data and your use of it is critical. The AI you implement is only as good as the fuel you give it. And that fuel is data. The Pistoia Alliance released a survey in 2019 that showed 52% of respondents cited insufficient access to data as one of biggest barriers to the adoption of AI." Full story

Pistoia Alliance provides unified data model update years in the making
From Manufacturing Chemist

TetraScience Take: A key component of the Digital Lab of the Future is data unification. Whether harmonizing the format or using semantics or NLP, if we can't align large sets of data, we can't use advanced analytics to dervice insights that will accelerate discovery and development of therapeutics. This is why we are proud to partner with the Pistoia Alliance and Allotrope Foundation, as well as other key players, to advance this important initiative, and provide a platform to make it happen.

Excerpt: "...The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation, has released its latest Unified Data Model (UDM) file format, supported by funding from Biovia, Elsevier, GSK, Novartis, and Roche.

The latest update of the UDM looks to primarily improve the semantics and validation of data. This is important in R&D when acronyms and words can be interchanged. Without alignment on terms and data models, great opportunities to see trends or wider patterns are missed.

Standardised harmonisation of data is especially important as increased adoption of AI, and machine and deep learning is being seen, which are reliant on high quality data to improve outcomes and predictions. To continue to improve alignment in the future, the Alliance is looking to work more closely with the Allotrope Foundation , to ensure the two systems are complementary and compatible." Full story

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