Cloudy Days Ahead

In a slow-growth economy, innovation often takes the form of speed rather than new. But the journey from seed stage through the ivory halls of research and into a hard-to-open bottle on a shelf in your local pharmacy continues to be a long, laborious one.

Rather than waiting on blockbusters, pharma companies are finding that fine tuning processes throughout the drug life cycle can provide more immediate impact on growth.

The industry has not historically been known for embracing lean. Legacy systems tend to impede flexibility, prohibit dynamic responses to industry findings and resist smooth upgrades to more efficient systems. And given the regulated nature of product development, pharma and biotech companies are plagued by constraints not typical of most industries.

No easy solution here. But for starters, there has been a shift toward acquiring IP, partnering among companies and outsourcing to labs that do it faster—and cheaper.

In his blog post Behind the Cloud, Bruce Mache describes how forward-thinking life science companies are moving to cloud computing to chisel away at (and speed up) the tasks inherent in the R&D process and to manage data that travels between multiple stakeholders.

Interesting how collaboration among academia, biotech/pharma and regulatory agencies has spawned a host of IT solutions that reside in a virtual sky.