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October 10, 2014
Leading pharma companies turn to cloud technology to accelerate drug development
By: Kevin Julian

While the gap continues to grow between declining pharmaceutical R&D productivity and increasing pharma spending on drug development, it appears the industry agrees on the need to digitize R&D and bring meaningful change to overall R&D productivity. Today’s leading pharmaceutical companies are breaking down internal and external barriers to explore truly novel, collaboration-based approaches to streamline processes, standardize clinical data and accelerate new therapies to the patients they serve. Companies are exploring integrated sourcing strategies where sponsors don’t distinctly bear all the development burdens. These models, like Accenture Accelerated R&D Services, enable sponsor companies to collaborate with a target set of research partners—whether they are CROs, software vendors or aggregators—to mitigate development risk, reduce costs and accelerate outcomes.

These forward-looking global pharma and biotech firms are looking for ways to standardize and employ technology to reduce costs, shorten drug development timelines and maintain quality and compliance. This openness to collaboration sets the stage for information management platforms that can address the full scope and strategy for regulatory and clinical data operations, with support across all geographies, submission formats and regulatory agencies. These cloud-based technology platforms are helping pharma companies make research and clinical data more widely available by standardizing how it is collected, formatted and distributed. Areas of the business that are traditionally siloed can pull from the same data pool and contribute unique perspectives to the investigative process. Additionally, analytics can help researchers to model outcomes, spot trends and ask the right questions.

The Accenture Life Sciences Cloud for R&D solution is one example of a platform that is enabling and democratizing meaningful progress in R&D productivity. The solution is led by Accenture and Oracle and is built by industry, for industry. The Life Sciences Cloud Coalition is an exciting initiative, established in parallel with the Accenture Life Sciences Cloud for R&D platform, to build an assembly of like-minded leaders, collaborating for a healthier industry in non-competitive areas. The focus of the coalition is on driving innovation in Accenture Life Sciences Cloud to digitally enable the R&D function, speed the drug development process while improving quality and cost for the industry. Representative members of the Life Sciences Cloud Coalition include leading pharma companies like Eisai, Merck and Pfizer.

Leading pharma and biotech companies are developing and harnessing cloud solutions to address operational efficiency, security, scalability and compliance. Through cloud enabled platforms, they can identify and advance promising drugs earlier, gather vital metrics and KPIs. They are also able to manage users, data sources, on-premise systems and other cloud providers to enable seamless aggregation of data monitoring and clinical trial portfolios in real-time.

Pharma companies are starting to see that many foundational or operational transactions—and the supporting IT environments—aren’t quite the competitive levers they thought they were in the past. With the maturation of new solutions such as cloud technology, these advanced organizations are seeing real possibilities in pre-competitive collaboration. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry as pharma R&D is by all measures heading for revolutionary change through previously doubted collaborative efforts with some of the largest global pharmaceutical companies in the world. These innovators are coming together in the interest of conducting clinical trials in a much more efficient and cost-effective way to leverage real-time data that will ultimately benefit the patients they serve.

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