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.