Parexel links with Microsoft for “patient-centric technologies” and cloud-based services for clinical research
Two key players – Parexel, the contract research organization (CRO), and Microsoft, the technology giant, have formed an alliance in which they will develop a new cloud technology to expedite drug research. The two companies want to “drive digital transformation” of biopharma by means of the agreement, which will bring together Parexel’s drug development work with Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing technology, reported Ben Adams in Fierce Biotech.
At the beginning the collaboration will concentrate on moving Parexel Informatics technology and services onto Microsoft Azure. The two companies also will develop “patient-centric technologies” and cloud-based services to support clinical research and market access for Parexel’s life science clients and enable the delivery of precision medicine.
According to Xavier Flinois, president of Parexel Informatics, "As part of this partnership, Microsoft and Paraexel are aligning across multiple streams, from research to development, to engineering and client management. However, Parexel Informatics will still operate as it has been, as a business unit of the company. Specifically, the companies aim to develop solutions to enhance patient engagement and make participation in clinical trials more accessible. Drug development is becoming more complex, while innovations including social media, analytics, mobile technology and the Internet of Things are enabling a more patient-centric approach. In combination, Microsoft’s leading innovations and commitment to security and regulatory compliance, along with Parexel’s industry expertise, will allow us to bring accelerated drug delivery timelines and improved patient engagement to the industry.”
As Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, explained, “By combining the global scale and intelligent capabilities of Microsoft Azure with Parexel’s biopharmaceutical expertise, together we will help life science companies to accelerate the drug-development and commercialization process, all built on a foundation of trust, security and compliance with the Microsoft Cloud.”
Recently, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced that it is teaming up with Amazon and Microsoft to develop genomic data platforms. NCI has said that it wants to use the tech giants’ cloud computing knowledge and capabilities to produce a model for sharing cancer genomic data with researchers. NCI, which wants to ensure that data is widely available and stop computing constraints from slowing research, has worked with The Broad Institute, The Institute for Systems Biology and Seven Bridges Genomics for its Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGC) Pilots. Because the Cancer Moonshot program is making progress, NCI wants to be certain that researchers can make the most of the genomic data boom. The agreement with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing segment of the e-commerce giant, is designed to add to NCI initiatives. NCI hopes that its new cohorts can assist in developing a “sustainable model” to make cancer data available to researchers through the CGC Pilots and Genomic Data Commons. By taking the computing concerns from individual researchers to central cloud platforms, NCI hopes to increase the availability of the genomic datasets.
Parexel was recently bought by Pamplona Capital for $5 billion. The CRO giant was also in the news recently for reviving efforts at remote data gathering from clinical trial subjects.