BT builds out its cloud-based communications services for pharma R&D

New services complement existing cloud services for life sciences; Berg Pharma is an early client

BT, the global telecom company, has had a dedicated life sciences business unit for several years, has announced an alliance with Acclerys (San Diego), a provider of software tools and services for modelling and data management in industrial R&D, to provide the latter’s software in an integrated manner with BT’s communications and data management, which include BT’s On Demand Compute service (cloud services), BT Assure (security) and BT Connect (enabling communication among private, public and hybrid clouds). The initial rollout focuses on Accelerys’ Pipeline Pilot and related tools, which enable “in silico” drug development with collaboration among researchers and large database sources such as candidate drug libraries. “The communications and data-management services a pharma R&D organization uses can be a factor in time to market and cost of drug development,” says Yury Rozenman, head of marketing for BT Global Commerce. “At the same time, we’re building a range of services that can follow a drug from R&D to manufacturing to commercialization.”

A first client of BT for Life Sciences R&D is Berg Pharma (Boston), an integrated pharmaceutical developer that will integrate its proprietary Interrogative Biology platform, which the company uses to develop drug candidates. Berg intends to provide this platform to pharma partners via BT cloud services as well.

Rozenman points to BT’s services to the National Health Service, where communications involving patient healthcare records are combined with NHS’ reimbursement and compliance practices, as a model for how electronic health records (EHRs) in the US might connect with compliance, outcomes research and related issues affecting pharma businesses, but adds that many regulatory requirements remain to be worked out. BT can perform anonymization for NHS data, but isn’t fully equipped for HIPAA privacy rules in the US as yet.

In the meantime, the pharma industry continues to get more comfortable with cloud-based IT and communications services. Rozenman says that not only does BT provide multiple levels of communications security through its services, but it also is able to incorporate GxP standards (such as 21 CFR Part 11, which applies to electronic signatures on documents) to meet FDA requirements. The company’s US center of excellence is in Princeton, NJ.