AstraZeneca Hosts Inaugural Forum

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BOSTON-March 19, 2013- (BUSINESS WIRE)--With information technology playing an increasingly crucial role in pharmaceutical research and development, organizations are seeking to streamline operations so scientists can spend more time on research and development. To this end, leading pharmaceutical companies and IT vendors gathered to identify and address the critical information technology issues that affect laboratory scientists. The collaboration ­ still in its early stages of formalization ­ kicked off with its inaugural Laboratory/Manufacturing IT Collaboration Forum, hosted by AstraZeneca at its Waltham, MA offices on February 25, 2013.

"IT professionals and key vendors are collaborating to enhance the scientists' experience today ­ and we have the right people in the room to drive innovation for the lab of the future."

The collaboration includes industry leaders like AstraZeneca, Biogen Idec, Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research and Merck. Together, they are trying to foster better cooperation within the industry and promote best practices to overcome the IT issues faced within the R&D lab environment.

"With the increasing demand for personalized medicine and lower drug costs, the industry needs more efficient ways to work together and help scientists focus on creating new drugs that meet patient needs," said Mike Santimaw, specialist computing service delivery manager, AstraZeneca. "We want to identify the IT roadblocks and find the solutions. Collaborating enables us to solve these problems faster, freeing everyone to do more in terms of research and development, and grow as an industry."

The forum gathered senior IT executives from pharmaceutical and technology companies for discussions around operational issues that lead to additional costs and time lost by scientists dealing with IT operations. The group also discussed examples of best practices and their visions for the Lab of the Future.

"This forum has great potential," says Kevin Granfield, director R&D IT support services, Biogen Idec. "IT professionals and key vendors are collaborating to enhance the scientists' experience today ­ and we have the right people in the room to drive innovation for the lab of the future."

The forum also featured a Strategic Partnership Showcase, where technology vendors like co-coordinator of the event Ceiba Solutions, Intel, Microsoft, Thermo Scientific and Dell demonstrated how their tools and services support the lab IT environment. Executives participated in the breakout sessions to understand what future services IT departments need as they embrace future developments.

"While the collaboration has the immediate tactical goal of addressing current IT management problems, we also want to understand what shared vision these executives have for the pharmaceutical industry as a whole," said Tom Arneman, president, Ceiba Solutions. "We're harnessing the shared brainpower of these companies to improve the performance of everyone's IT operations so we can enable scientists to spend more time doing what they do best."

About Ceiba

Ceiba Solutions provides managed services, products and information analytics dedicated to helping the Life Sciences maximize the value of information. As the only company focused on providing high quality, onsite IT support inside the modern laboratory, its managed services offerings are uniquely positioned to help researchers maintain focus on the business of science and decision making. Ceiba's powerful analytics and services platforms provide easy to use self-service analytics and social monitoring services designed to help customers tap the potential of the Big Data age. Ceiba's customers include major pharmaceutical companies and world-renowned research institutions.

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