Bio-IT World has announced the winners of the 2020 Innovative Practices Awards. Entries from the Pistoia Alliance and Mission: Cure, Roche, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, University of Chicago, and Massachusetts General Hospital were all honored.


The Pistoia Alliance and Mission: Cure’s winning entry recognizes the success of a rare disease drug-repurposing datathon to treat chronic pancreatitis which was organized by the Pistoia Alliance and Elsevier and conducted in partnership with Cures Within Reach and Mission: Cure.


Since 2003, Bio-IT World has hosted an elite awards program, highlighting outstanding examples of how technology innovations and strategic initiatives can be powerful forces for change in the life sciences, from basic biomedical research to drug development and beyond.


“The Innovative Practices Awards consistently recognize efforts in our community to push our technological boundaries further to advance life sciences research. Sharing these collaborations offers opportunities for the whole community to emulate best practices and leapfrog current hurdles for future growth,” said Allison Proffitt, Editorial Director of Bio-IT World. “Although the 2020 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo has been moved to October, we couldn’t wait to share these well-deserving projects with our community.”


This year’s five winners were selected by a panel of expert judges including the Bio-IT World editors and Cambridge Healthtech Institute executives from entries received from pharmaceutical companies, academic centers, government agencies, and technology providers.


“We are honored to receive such a prestigious award for innovation. Our drug repurposing datathon with Elsevier, Cures Within Reach and Mission: Cure produced some very promising results and shows that when we unite and share our expertise and resources we can achieve breakthroughs that will have a real impact on patients’ lives,” said Dr. Steve Arlington, President, The Pistoia Alliance.


The Pistoia Alliance and Mission: Cure entry nominated by Elsevier:


Elsevier and Pistoia Alliance organized a drug-repurposing datathon, with Cures Within Reach and Mission: Cure being the consulting organizations. The objective was to identify repurposable drug candidates for chronic pancreatitis—a rare disease that affects about 1 million people globally, and currently doesn’t have an approved treatment. Datathon participants used Entellect, an Elsevier data integration platform, to access Elsevier supplied datasets such as Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry, ResNet (aka PathwayStudio) and PharmaPendium. In addition, participants were able to incorporate third party datasets into Entellect to create a single, harmonized and linked dataset, against which they applied machine learning and statistical techniques, from exploratory data analysis and data pre-processing, to feature engineering, model building, validation and comparison, and finally result visualization and model deployment. As a result, 4 drug candidates were identified in 30-60 days, then reviewed and approved by the expert panel, pending further clinical trials by Mission: Cure.


Details of all the winning entries can be found at