IDBS, ISD forge data integration partnership

IDBS announced a major strategic partnership with data integration specialist In Silico Discovery (ISD) that will combine its E-WorkBook with ISD’s K3 integration platform.

Chris Anderson
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GUILDFORD, England—Just more than a year after IDBS announced the launch of its E-WorkBook (EWB) technology, the company announced a major strategic partnership with data integration specialist In Silico Discovery (ISD) that will com­bine the EWB with ISD's K3 integration platform.
As a result, the EWB technology, already designed to provide high levels of information sharing and collaborative work between research­ers in varied disciplines, will now be able to con­struct specific queries and collect data from vir­tually any data source via K3. The result, both companies note, is the creation of a "virtual data warehouse" that provides a single view of the data in the EWB environment regardless of the data type or data source.
"While E-WorkBook was already quite versa­tile in its ability to collect and share data with­in an organization and across different areas of research, we wanted to extend the scope of the query capabilities and ISD's K3 technology does exactly that," says Neil Kipling, CEO of IDBS.
Working with ISD also ensures that IDBS is working with a part­ner that intimately knows the data challenges faced every day by pharmaceutical researchers. "GSK has worked with an internal version of something very simi­lar called, not surprisingly, K2 for a number of years," says Brian Donnelly, CEO of ISD. "What they wanted us to do is to create a com­mercial prototype for their use and also to make it generally available to the industry."
That kind of backing was vital not only to developing K3 in a rela­tively short amount of time, but allowed two-year-old ISD to have a baseline of credibility when talk­ing with executives of other dis­covery-driven organizations and to potential partners like IDBS. "My team are all veteran data integra­tion specialists and we've been working together for more than 15 years," Donnelly notes. "But when we can say that GSK has had 400 informatics real scientists working with this or something similar for eight years, it makes a big difference in how we are received."
At its heart, the combined offer­ings will allow researchers the flexibility to derive relevant data for their studies from any number of sources. This kind of seamless integration is seen as a sort of Holy Grail for researchers who regu­larly grapple with how to collect and manage what is often widely distributed data housed in public and private data silos and stored in many different data types.
Further easing the workload of scientists is EWB's method of presenting the data in concepts familiar to researchers.
"There are a variety of ways to present data and these are depen­dent on the differing needs of each scientist," says Glyn Williams, IDBS's vice president marketing and product management. "One unique aspect of our approach is that data can be exposed by famil­iar concepts, for example, pro­teins, receptors, chemical struc­tures, or targets. The benefit of this approach is that data, however complex or diverse, is presented in a format that is easily under­stood."
Now, with K3 providing unlim­ited access to query and receive data from multiple sources, IDBS feels like it has hit the sweet spot of the market. Meanwhile, like typical middleware providers, Donnelly will be happy if none of the users of EWB even the name of the company of his com­pany as long as the technology is performing, in the background, as intended. But he is assured that his affiliation with IDBS and their name recognition will help spur sales of his technology.
"What I realize is IDBS have been around a long time and have 32,000 users of their technology," says Donnelly. "When I looked around, every big pharma has their stuff and it is deeply embedded. I like the fact that they understand drug discovery and their reach is deep and broad."

Chris Anderson

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