Strategically going digital

Collaboration between Dassault and Inserm is designed to advance the use of ‘virtual trials’

Ilene Schneider
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PARIS—A joint agreement between Dassault Systèmes and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) will use a “virtual collaborative platform” to advance research in the areas of cancer, aging, genomics and microbiota and to advance the use of “virtual clinical trials.” At the core of these initiatives is an integrated virtual environment for open collaborative research, unified laboratory management and biological and chemical modeling and simulation from Dassault Systèmes’ flagship brand BIOVIA.
Inserm, the only French public research institute to focus entirely on human health, had a need for a scientific platform to validate its scientific models in the process of the development of new clinical trial technologies, according to Reza Sadeghi, BIOVIA’s chief strategy officer, a member of the U.S. Department of Energy National Review Board and an adjunct professor at University of California, San Diego. Inserm will work with Dassault Systèmes to offer new perspectives on how to best address today’s scientific and health challenges.
Created in 1964, Inserm is a public institution with a scientific and technical mission under the dual auspices of the French Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Research. It was created as a successor to the French National Institute of Health. Inserm consists of 339 research units, run by 6,500 permanent staff members. Eighty percent of Inserm research units are embedded in research hospitals of French universities. With a budget of €989 million in 2014, Inserm supports more than 300 laboratories across France.
BIOVIA’s systems are designed to integrate the diversity of science, experimental processes and information requirements across research, development, QA/QC and manufacturing, according to Sadeghi. Capabilities include scientific data management; biological, chemical and materials modeling and simulation; open collaborative discovery; scientific pipelining; enterprise laboratory management; enterprise quality management; environmental health and safety; and operations intelligence.
Per the terms of the agreement, Inserm will rely on Dassault Systèmes for all software to help manage its laboratories and perform biological and chemical modeling and simulation, Sadeghi says. Data will flow in the opposite direction, with Dassault Systèmes pulling in information from Inserm research programs to help calibrate and validate scientific models it sees supporting the development of new technologies.
By utilizing the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which uses Microsoft technology, Inserm will conduct strategic biomedical research programs for cancer, genomics, aging and microbiota. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will offer an integrated virtual environment for collaborative research, as well as unified laboratory management and biological and chemical modeling and simulation.
Dassault Systèmes plans to use Big Data from Inserm’s research programs to calibrate and validate scientific models that can be applied to future technologies in clinical research. Because of this data and the scientific models, Dassault Systèmes will be able to develop industry solution experiences that target clinical trials, helping to accelerate decision-making.
In the words of Yves Lévy, chairman and CEO of Inserm, “We seek out technologies that further our mission to observe and understand mechanisms of the living body and ultimately transfer this knowledge to therapeutic solutions for new and mutating diseases that are affecting the world’s growing population. We lead long-term, competitive scientific programs in human health and medicine and the Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform will help us support collaboration, project management, data, resources, traceability and other processes.”
“A virtual collaboration platform works by catalyzing scientific research through patient-centric numerical models, leveraging information intelligence and translational medicine Big Data informatics,” Sadeghi says. “In this collaboration we will establish open collaboration on a social scientific platform and address the strategic scientific challenges of Inserm.”
“Expected benefits are in the area of clinical solutions, with access to patient clinical and omics data and scientific challenges,” Sadeghi adds. “Other benefits include linking biosystems behavior knowledge and understanding the clinical outcome of therapeutics.”

Ilene Schneider

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