Pistoia Alliance Debates Webinar Series

Next Webinars

Please join us for Pistoia Alliance webinars, where we discuss the technologies and opportunities where we believe collaboration will advance innovation in R&D.
Catch up on our previous webinars in the WATCH AGAIN section below

Knowledge Graphs for Pharma: A perspective from the PhUSE Project 'Clinical Trials Data as RDF'

Date/Time:  January 24th, 2019  11am ET/4pmGMT/5pm CET

The Pistoia Alliance FAIR Community of Interest and the AstraZeneca-founded Linked Data Community of Practice are pleased to announce this next joint webinar, open to all interested parties.

REGISTER HERE for January 24th webinar

Speaker: Tim Williams (UCB and PhUSE)


The pharmaceutical industry faces many data-related challenges. Data silos, search, provenance, metadata integration, and standards management are a few of the issues facing an industry in which timelines are tight and patient safety is of paramount importance.

Linked Data Knowledge Graphs as Resource Description Framework (RDF) offer many potential solutions. Linked Data promises end-to-end modeling of the clinical trial process, semantic search, integrated metadata and rules, standards-independent data structures, and a flexible, multi-dimensional schema. The challenge is in implementing this technology in a traditionally conservative, risk-averse culture. This talk presents an overview of the philosophy and ongoing work of the PhUSE project "Clinical Trials Results as Resource Description Framework." The team is converting data from the CDISC Study Data Tabulation Model (SDTM) to graph data using an ontology-based approach. The wider implications of this work will be discussed, along with deployment strategies within and beyond the industry.


Tim Williams is a co-lead of the PhUSE project "Clinical Trials Data as RDF", an instructor for "Linked Data for Clinical Trials: A Hands-on Workshop", and a member of the Steering Committee for the PhUSE Computational Science Symposium. Tim has been involved with Linked Data since 2013 and is currently employed by UCB Biosciences as a Principal Statistical Systems Analyst in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Watch Again

Data Quality in support of AI/ML: Pistoia Alliance CoE for AI Webinar Series

Data Quality is at the heart of AI/ML and is one of the key challenges we face in Life Sciences to make AI a success.

Run 10 Dec 2018

In this panel we will discussed how to address these data quality issues and what steps we need to take to improve things in the future.
It also looked at practical ways to improve things now.
  • Panel members include:
    • Terry Stouch, Science for Solutions
    • Isabella Feierberg, AstraZeneca
    • Jamie Powers, Cambridge Semantics
    • Sirarat Sarntivijai, ELIXIR EU
    • Jabe Wilson, Elsevier
  • Some opening questions for our panelists were:
    • Define “data quality” - FAIR? Open? Shareable? What are metrics for FAIR-ness of data? How accurate are metadata?
    • Discuss metadata standards, as-is and to-be
    • How high level of quality is needed at specific points of research work cycle?
      • Various models in AI are more or less sensitive to outliers, missing values, etc

Slides available here

Harmonizing FAIR Data Catalog Approaches

Multiple groups in the life sciences community have started their journey towards data FAIR-ification by implementing Data Catalogs, a clear first step towards Finding your data. While in many cases the approaches are quite similar, in both origin and intent, differing implementations could end up hampering interoperability and reuse. The Pistoia Alliance and the Linked Data Community of Practice hosted a panel discussion describing at three implementations and their downstream goals:

  1. Pharma cross-omics data catalogs,
  2. Clinical data catalogs 
  3. Bioschemas for dataset discoverability on the inter/intranet

Martin Romacker [Roche]

Eric Little[Osthus];
Kees van Bochove [the Hyve]
Rafael Jimenez [Elixir]
Tom Plasterer[AstraZeneca]

Slides available here

Maximizing Value from Healthcare Data Using Machine Learning

October 18, 2018   

Joint webinar between Pistoia Alliance and PRISME forum

In order to advance Machine Learning driven analytic approaches, having access to more data is better. In order to achieve increasingly larger patient level datasets, Researchers require the pooling of data from participants across the Healthcare ecosystem.

Common requirements and technical design patterns have emerged from company-specific and industry consortia efforts, forming underlying patterns that make up an overall Reference Architecture for data that can ultimately feed new analytics and Machine Learning.

In this presentation and panel discussion, we will review practical experience in creating and leveraging a common design pattern to simplify and accelerate data sharing efforts that support Research efforts through Machine Learning approaches.

  • Introductions and overviews
    • Pistoia Alliance Centre of Excellence for AI in Life Sciences and Health
    • PRISME Forum AI Special Interest Group
  • The Maturity of AI/ML in Pharmaceutical R&D
    • Overview of the AI/ML Maturity Model
    • The PRISME Forum Industry Survey and White Paper on AI in Pharmaceutical R&D
  • Webinar Presentation and Panel
    • Establishing Data Sharing and Machine Learning Reference Architectures to Drive Patient Data Level Research Use Cases
    • Maximizing the Value from Data using a Reference Architecture
  • Panel Discussion
  • Wrap-up and preview of Pistoia Alliance Oct 9th AI/ML workshop

More details

So that’s what a blockchain is! An in-depth Introduction

As a run-up to the Pistoia Alliance Blockchain Bootcamp in October, we are please to bring you an in-depth introduction to blockchain technology. Hear Wolfgang Prinz and Wolfgang Gräther  from Fraunhofer FIT provide an explanation of the underlying technology, the current uses of blockchain in other industries, and when blockchain is appropriate for various use-cases, followed by a demo.

You can see the slides here

Who should watch this?

Anyone in Life Sciences IT or R&D who is responsible for evaluating application of new technologies to their domain or is curious about how blockchain could be applied. Anyone planning on joining the Pistoia Alliance 2-day Blockchain Bootcamp (October 8-9 – Boston) is strongly urged to attend this webinar as a useful prerequisite.

Speaker Bios

Prof. Wolfgang Prinz, PhD studied informatics at the University of Bonn and received his PhD in computer science from the University of Nottingham. He is vice chair of Fraunhofer FIT in Bonn, division manager of the collaboration systems research department in FIT, and Professor for cooperation systems at RWTH Aachen. His research department at FIT is addressing the challenges and potentials of digitization offered by new cooperation platforms in combination with mixed reality and flexible communication infrastructure as well as the investigation of application areas such as mobility and digital energy. In the context of the Fraunhofer FIT Blockchain Lab, Wolfgang Prinz investigates the technical foundations as well as the development and analysis of blockchain based applications. https://www.fit.fraunhofer.de/en/wolfgang-prinz.html

Wolfgang Gräther is a senior researcher at Fraunhofer FIT, the Institute for Applied Information Technology of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. He has worked in several national and EU research projects as well as industrial contract research. Currently he is a project manager of the Blockchain for Education project. His expertise spans cooperation systems, social media, design thinking and blockchain technology.

Ready, Set, GoFAIR Webinar

From 31 July 2018

Hear Erik Schultes from @GOFAIRofficial . (Part of the Linked Data Community of Practice seminar schedule, organized by AstraZeneca) discuss the FAIR principles and their implementation examples on how we can achieve FAIR use of data as a community / industry.


The 15 FAIR Principles have found unusually rapid uptake among a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from research scientists who make data, to publishers who distribute data, to science funders who track impact of data. Erik will describe the FAIR Principles and show examples of how they have been implemented. Erik will also present a set of core FAIR Metrics that can help gauge the level of FAIRness of any digital resource. Of particular interest is how additional FAIR Metrics can (and should) be defined to address community-specific data structures and analytic requirements. This discussion, and these examples will be presented in the context of the International GO FAIR Initiative. GO FAIR is a voluntary community of stakeholders devoted to implementation solutions of an emerging Internet of FAIR Data and Services.

Speaker Bio:

Erik Schultes is an evolutionary biologist with a long standing interest in data-intensive research questions. Erik has been affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles; The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT); The Santa Fe Institute; Duke University Medical Centre and Department of Computer Science. Erik currently holds a visiting researcher appointment in the Human Genetics Department, Leiden University Medical Center. In recent years, Erik has been working with a diverse community of stakeholders to develop FAIR data and services both within, and outside, the life sciences. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8888-635X .

Centre of Excellence for AI in Life Sciences: Webinar 2: Demystifying AI – Part 2


From 21 June 2018
Pistoia Alliance launched its Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Life Sciences where we hope to bring together best practice, adoption strategy and hackathons covering a range of challenges.
Webinar 2 focused on the following
  • Considerations for Life Sciences
  • ML 102
  • TIE –Interpretability & Explainability
  • Conversational AI: Bot Basics
  • Q & A
Speaker: Prashant Natarajan Senior Director, AI Applications at H2O.ai

The slides from the webinar can be found here

Centre of Excellence for AI in Life Sciences: Webinar 1 Intro to AI in Life Sciences


From Wed 23rd May 2018
Pistoia Alliance launched its Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Life Sciences where we hope to bring together best practice, adoption strategy and hackathons covering a range of challenges.
Over the coming months we will be hosting a series of topics and speakers giving their perspectives on the role of Artificial & Augmented Intelligence in Life Sciences and Healthcare.
The topics will cover some of the current challenges, user stories & value in using AI in life sciences. If you want to get involved in this series as a speaker or suggest topics please get in touch
Webinar 1 focused on the following
  • A Brief History
  • Big Data/ML/DL/AI - fundamentals and concepts
  • Data Fidelity importance
  • Best practices
Speaker: Prashant Natarajan Senior Director, AI Applications at H2O.ai

The slides from the webinar can be found here

Faster Safe Companion Diagnostics (CDx) by Aligning Discovery & Clinical Data in the Regulatory Domain

The Pistoia Alliance examined the challenges of the Faster Safe Companion Diagnostics (CDx) by Aligning Discovery & Clinical Data in the Regulatory Domain. 

We discuss whether the data standards used in the research environment can be aligned better with the data standards used in the regulated environment? If so, the time and cost of the development of NGS-based CDx could be reduced.

The speakers were:

  • Stephen Lee (Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor, MHRA)  - An overview of the regulations around CDx and the new changes coming
  • Keith Nangle (Pistoia Alliance)  - The growth of NGS in research and the regulated domain
  • Mike Furness (Pistoia Alliance) - How can bringing together discovery and clinical data standards reduce time and cost to generate CDx?

The slides from the webinar can be found here

Build better software for life sciences using User Experience

 Have you ever had to use unusable laboratory software? Have you ever wondered how to fix it? Then this webinar is for you!

In this webinar you will learn what User Experience (UX) is, what value it brings, especially for life sciences and how you can start implementing UX in your organisation. Our illustrious speakers tell their own personal stories of UX and how they are effecting change through improved user experience. 

You will hear about how effective UX can transform research and development in the life sciences. Furthermore the speakers discuss initiatives to bring UX to the life sciences such as the Pistoia Alliance User Experience toolkit specifically for the R&D life science community.

Our Speakers included:

Ewan Birney - Director of the EMBL-EBI

Joel Miller - UX lead  at Amgen

Mikko-Pekka Hanski - Vice President at Idean

The slides from the webinar can be found here

Beyond BMI: Body Composition Phenotyping in the UK Biobank


In the second of our Real World Data (RWD) webinars, we examined new techniques that go beyond the standard Body Mass Index, and how large data sets are being mined for meaningful real world applications.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Naomi Allen, Senior epidemiologist, UK Biobank
  • Olof Dahlqvist Leinhard, PhD, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, AMRA
  • Theresa Tuthill, PhD, Head of Imaging Methodologies, Biomarkers and Development Group, Early Clinical Development, Pfizer.

The slides from the webinar can be found here

Where will AI/Deep learning have an impact in Life Science & Health

Drug Discovery and Development have a long tradition of using Machine learning and statistics to support data analysis and decision making.

With the growth of AI and Deep learning (AI/DL) in many industry sectors, there are clear indications of the growing interest from the pharma sector in applying these approaches and to evaluate the potential of AI & Deep learning.

There are a range Life Science AI start ups building on the wide ranging approaches to AI looking to provide innovative solutions across the Life Science and Health workflow.

In this webinar we explored some of the current opportunities for AI within Life Science and look ahead to what we can expect to see over the coming years.

Our speakers for this debate bring a broad experience of Life Science, Technology and the application of Deep learning, they were
  • Sean Ekins CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc: Deep Learning in Pharmaceutical Research
  • David Pearah CEO HDF group: Learning from other industry sectors
  • Peter Henstock - Pfizer Research: Why is pharma lagging in the AI arena whereas other industries are already transformed  
The slides from the webinar can be found here

The slides from the webinar are available here:  https://www.slideshare.net/pistoiaalliance/nlp-ml-webinar/1

NLP and ML: Beyond the Hype

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as natural language processing (NLP), have been around for some time, and more recently there has been much hype surrounded the potential of combining AI with Machine Learning (ML) for decision making. But has it met the challenge? This webinar reviews what NLP is, the role NLP plays in machine learning approaches, such as deep learning, and some real-world use cases for application to life sciences and healthcare to improve patient outcomes.
Our panelists were:
David Milward (Linguamatics) 
Chengyi Zheng (Kaiser Permanente)
Eugene Myshkin (Clarivate) 


The slides from the webinar are available here:  https://www.slideshare.net/pistoiaalliance/nlp-ml-webinar/1

Is there a role for blockchain in healthcare?

June 2017

It is becoming ever more clear that blockchain technology could transform & disrupt business models profoundly. The Pistoia Alliance is therefore pleased to announce a webinar “Is there a role for blockchain in healthcare?”.

Our panelists from very different backgrounds will provide a basic introduction to “the blockchain” and then briefly describe some areas where distributed ledger technology (DLT) could have utility in medicines discovery and delivery.

Gideon Greenspan, CEO and Founder of Multichain, an open source platform for private blockchains will provide a brief, technical introduction to blockchain and will then introduce at a high level those use case areas where blockchain tech could conceivably be of use across the healthcare value chain, as well as highlighting scenarios where DLT probably shouldn’t be used.

David Houlding, Director of Healthcare Privacy & Security leads Intel Health & Life Sciences blockchain efforts globally, and will share thoughts on how to identify near term opportunities for blockchain, and how to manage privacy, security, and compliance with blockchain.

Nishan Kulatilaka is an associate director of applied technology at Merck, in which role he has been looking into potential applications of blockchain and DLT in healthcare.  Nishan will share some experiences and observations from his work so far.

Darryl Glover is currently chief clinical officer at iSolve.  With their own Advanced Digital Ledger Technology (ADLT) iSolve is focusing on one blockchain use-case that appears to be acknowledged as genuine: that of provenance, supply chain tracking and “serialization”.

After the three brief presentations there will be a 25 minute open Q&A where attendees will be able to ask questions of the panellists. The Q&A will be facilitated by Richard Shute, a consultant with Curlew Research and advisor to Encrypgen, a blockchain start-up in the genomics space.

Real World Data / Real World Evidence

June 2017

The capture and management of Real World Data – and it subsequent analysis to create Real World Evidence – is an important capability of the biopharmaceutical industry. The increase in the number and the influence of Health Technology Assessment Agencies – with their brief to understand the value of medical therapies and to recommend or not for their inclusion in the pharmacopeias – ensures that the industry increasingly needs to provide Real World Evidence to support their claims about the value of their drugs.

But more than this, Real World Data – including Genomic Data – could be exploited to inform clinical trial strategy – to provide better understanding of patient cohorts - improved inclusion / exclusion criteria – all contributing to fewer and more robust clinical trials with fewer patients. Furthermore, such RWD might be exploited to inform drug discovery with better correlations between genotype and phenotype and better understanding of the mechanisms of drugs of particular classes on disease pathways.

However, the current model is for each individual biopharmaceutical company to build its own RWD/RWE infrastructure. Could one image a future where the biopharmaceutical industry shared such an infrastructure? The savings made, the efficiencies gained, would be remarkable. But how might that be achieved?

The Pistoia Alliance will run a webinar that will focus on the common challenges that the biopharmaceutical industry faces in the regulatory-compliant, exploitation of RWD. Three perspectives will be examined viz:

  • the biopharmaceutical industry,
  • the legislative and regulatory framework constraining the exploitation of RWD
  • the technologies that can be deployed to exploit RWD and create RWE.

The webinar will suggest a way forward whereby a cross-industry understanding of the challenges, and the functional and business specifications of a RWD/RWE platform might be defined, resulting in trusted, third-party, commercial solutions to be implemented.

Ontologies Mapping for more effective data integration and knowledge management

February 2017

The Life Sciences face increasing volumes, variety and sources of data. In addition, there is a pressing need for better integration of data. Despite these needs data standards remain poorly defined and even when present, can often be overlooked or ignored. Ontologies are an important solution because they serve as the “smart glue” for data integration to semantically enable management of knowledge. This is hampered by multiple standards and many varying ontologies which overlap in the same data domain such as disease and phenotype. In response to these challenges we set up the Ontologies Mapping project in 2015 to support better tools, services and best practices for ontology management and mapping in the Life Sciences.

This webinar will bring together a panel of experts in the ontologies engineering field from Industry and Academia. It will be chaired by Ian Harrow (Consultant and Manager for the Pistoia OM project) and includes two more members of the OM project team:- Martin Romacker (Roche) and Yasmin Alam-Faruque (Eagle Genomics). Further panel members will be Simon Jupp (EMBL-EBI) and Lee Harland (SciBite).

IDMP: It’s all about the patient: enhancing patient safety through improved R&D information exchange

January 2017

IDMP will increase Patient safety by closing the information loop from early Drug Research, through Market Authorization to Patient Surveillance and Monitoring. Touching on all areas and making the information available in a structured and electronic format needs a lot of coordination, standardisation and process changes.


Andrew Marr (Marr Consultancy) will provide us an overview of the IDMP process and give us an update on the current timelines from a regulatory perspective. He will describe the 5 ISO standards that build the framework for IDMP and describe the work happening in the different international organisations to come up with one harmonized approach for IDMP.

Frits Stulp (Iperion) and Edsel David (Astellas) will illustrate in a case study what it means to implement IDMP compliant processes in a Pharmaceutical company. They will describe the challenges a company is facing moving from what was very much a paper based process to the electronic age.

Martin Romacker (Roche) will talk about the role of Ontology Mapping and Sergio Rotstein (Pfizer) will describe HELM, a standard for the representation of Macromolecules. These two presentations will provide examples how the pharmaceutical industry will contribute to ensure a high level of IDMP data quality. A consortium like Pistoia Alliance can ensure that this support happens in a well-coordinated fashion.

CRISPR: what it is, and why it is having a profound impact on human health

November 2016 (no webinar in October)

Scientific articles, science news, and even popular press stories have exploded on the topic of CRISPR and so it seems an appropriate time for us to delve in and get a better understanding of the technique itself, the applications and the implications.

  • We will commence with an elementary description of CRISPR, providing a general understanding of what it is and how it is carried out and, in particular, how certain proteins can cut DNA in precise, targeted locations
  • With that background, we will then move to the of the radical scientific implications, not least the acceleration of understanding of basic molecular biology that can be achieved by exploiting this technology
  • We will then explore contemporary bioinformatics principles and techniques and how they can evolve to support and indeed enhance the exploitation of CRISPR in science and Medicine
  • Next we will touch on the clinical potential of CRISPR, with special reference to the possibilities in the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis
  • And finally we will explore the ethics of CRISPR, and the importance of engaging and informing the public about this profound, revolutionary, scientific, technical and medical development.


  • Panel Chairman - Alvis Brazma - Senior Team Leader, Functional Genomics, EMBL-EBI
  • Biopharma Scientist perspective - Mike Ollman - Principal Scientist at Amgen
  • Clinical Perspective - Patrick Harrison, University College Cork

Sequence Analysis in the Regulated Domain of the Biopharmaceutical Industry

September 2016 (no webinar in August)

Sequence analysis is of strategic importance to R&D in the biopharmaceutical industry. Key issues include analysis reproducibility and the quality of the different steps along the NGS processing workflow in the context of massively-parallel, computer-based methodologies.

Regulatory expectations increase as this work becomes increasingly implicated in the pharmaceutical industry GxPs and in particular GCP i.e. “Good Clinical Practice”. As such various regulations come into scope e.g. the ICH’s “INTEGRATED ADDENDUM TO ICH E6(R1): GUIDELINE FOR GOOD CLINICAL PRACTICE” (and in particular section 1.60.1 “Validation of computerized systems”) and also its “GUIDELINE ON GENOMIC SAMPLING AND MANAGEMENT OF GENOMIC DATA”.

Furthermore, two draft guidances that contribute to this regulatory framework have recently been published by the FDA; one is on the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based in-vitro Diagnostics for use in diagnosing germline diseases and the other for the use of public human genetic variant databases in support of clinical interpretation.

This webinar, moderated by Etzard Stolte, Global Head Knowledge Management at Roche, will address some of the opportunities for, as well as some of the challenges of Sequence Analysis in the Regulated Domain of the Biopharmaceutical Industry. Panelists include:

  • George Asimenos, Vice President and Director of Strategic Projects at DNAnexus
  • Les Mara, Founder and Director at Databiology
  • Martijn Brugman,Manager Vector Integration and Genome Analysis at GSK

The PhUSE Framework for the Adoption of Cloud Technology in the Regulated Life Sciences Industry

July 2016 (no webinar in June)

Within the PhUSE Computational Science Collaboration (a collaborative initiative including PhUSE, pharma, SDOs and regulatory agencies), the Emerging Trends and Technologies Working Group has formulated a framework to enable life sciences organisations to address and overcome real or perceived barriers to the adoption of cloud-based technology solutions in the GxP-regulated spaces.

Our framework outlines approaches for our industry that leverage existing ISO and NIST standards and, above all, illustrates the multiple operational models that are a) possible, b) practical, c) beneficial, and d) compliant with appropriate regulatory predicate rules and security standards. Our discussions will provide a brief outline of the framework and an opportunity to get the panelists’ views on particular thoughts and challenges for yourselves and/or within your organisations.

Our framework outlines approaches for our industry that leverage existing ISO and NIST standards and, above all, illustrates the multiple operational models that are a) possible, b) practical, c) beneficial, and d) compliant with appropriate regulatory predicate rules and security standards. Our discussions will provide a brief outline of the framework and an opportunity to get the panelists’ views on particular thoughts and challenges for yourselves and/or within your organisations.

Panelists include:

  • Tony Hewer, Senior Quality & Regulatory Affairs Director, Medidata Solutions Inc
  • Chris Whalley, Global Security Assurance Leas, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Amazon Web Services
  • Anders Vidstrup,Senior IT Quality SME, Quality & Security, NNIT A/S
  • Daniel Dziadiw, Director, IT Compliance and Risk Management, IT Supplier Compliance, Merck & Co.
  • Bill Telford, Director, ITS Security, R&D, Sanofi
  • Suzanne Studinger, Lead Auditor Quality Consultant, Quality Assurance Studinger

Moving Research Informatics to the Cloud

May 2016 (no webinar in April)

 While there is increasing consensus that R&D informatics must move to the cloud, how and when is still an open issue. Do we simultaneously migrate the 1000's of internally hosted, R&D life science applications as is? Or is there a different, more agile and cost-effective approach that can drive innovation, transformation and efficiency to create a very different future state for research at scale? Our panel - from varied backgrounds and organizations - will discuss the short, mid and long term benefits, the key challenges to implementation, the new opportunities afforded by this change, as well as the varied roles that different organizations can play in this partner ecosystem.

SEND, the CDISC Standard for Exchange of Nonclinical Data

March 2016

The FDA issued its final Guidance for “Providing Regulatory Submissions In Electronic Format — Standardized Study Data” in December of 2014. This guidance specifically identified SEND as the FDA-accepted way of transmitting non-clinical development study data to the agency.

This webinar, in the series of “Pistoia Alliance Debates”, will introduce its audience to the key principles of SEND. Using web-based presentations and discussion, the webinar panel members will guide webinar delegates to understand how efficient management, exchange and submission of non-clinical development study data can be implemented using SEND. SEND empowers sponsors, CROs and regulators to share, visualize and analyze study data more efficiently.

Furthermore, the webinar will identify some of the key, due-diligence, questions that need to be addressed before considering exchanging information with other companies in the information ecosystem including CROs.

Smart glasses, Smart scientists

February 2016

Google recently cancelled its beta Glass Explorer project, but that was by no means the end of the smart glass story. Companies such as Vuzix are creating a number of practical solutions that enable efficient and compliant applications in all kinds of settings, and work has already started to bring this technology into the world of life science R&D.

This Pistoia Alliance Debates webinar will be chaired by Lance Anderson of Vuzix who will provide an overview of the current state of the technology and clarify the distinction between virtual reality, augmented reality, and heads-up displays. This will be followed by some recent use-case illustrations that will assess the outcomes of early applications in the pharmaceutical industry. The closing audience Q&A will allow delegates to ask questions and debate the place of this technology in the future of their own labs and the corresponding regulatory environment.

Clinical trials and wearables

January 2016

Wearables are making a big impact on the consumer scene, with the Apple Watch setting the trend for general-purpose devices and FitBit well-established in wellness and fitness related applications. There is great potential for deploying such devices in the context of clinical trials in order to gain better metrics on patient behaviour and their response to the medication. With general-purpose consumer devices available widely and at relatively low cost, is it worth continuing to develop the existing ranges of specialist medical grade devices for this market, or could we make better use of the technology that already exists by re-purposing it with custom apps? How will such technology drive future clinical trial strategies in the pharma industry?

Join Richard Lingard (Dotmatics), Matt Jones (Tessella), Marie McCarthy (ICON), and Christian Gossens (Roche) for this Pistoia Alliance Debates webinar.

Sharing Data with my Co-opetition

December 2015 (rescheduled from October)

Pharmaceutical discovery and development has always been a collaborative endeavor but in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number and type of external collaboration projects throughout drug discovery, development and clinical trials. These range from fee-for-service CRO/CMO engagements to large multi-pharma/biotech and research institute collaborations. A critical success factor in these engagements is the ability to share all of the data necessary for the multi-organization team to operate efficiently and effectively, while protecting the intellectual property of the partners and adhering to any regulatory requirements associated with that data.

Analytics in Pharma R&D

September 2015

Analytics has seen an explosion of interest over the last 5 years with the advanced and predictive analytics market projected to grow from $2.2B from 2013 to £3.4B by 2018 (IDC).

R&D groups in pharma are making significant investments in order to increase their 'analytics' capability; structured and unstructured data, big-data management, static and live data analytics, predictive analytics, Business Intelligence and analytics modelling.

We are only now starting to understand how data analytics will change the life science industry; from new target discovery through to novel application for existing drugs and therapies. We'd like to explore a number of topics with our Pistoia friends about their analytics experiences, share some use cases and examples.

What is the role of analytics in Lifescience and R&D? How is Pharma R&D making use of analytics? What are the key challenges R&D is wanting analytics to solve? What are the blockers; in-house skills? Investment? C-Suite awareness? What are the best practices and real-world application of an R&D analytics investment and solution? How is R&D working with suppliers and partners on their analytics endeavours?

This webinar will be chaired by Matthew Jones of Tessella.

Sustaining translational data for secondary use

July 2015

The growing amount of data generated in large scale translational medicine collaborations (e.g: IMI U-BIOPRED, etc.) creates a new challenge for the research community since there are no established publicly funded repositories as in contrast to for example biological sequences or molecular structures. To enable secondary use of the wealth of such data sustainable repositories are needed. In this debate we will discuss the basic premise, what are the potential funding models, what are the technical challenges, and ethical, legal and privacy considerations of such repositories.

This webinar will be chaired by Sandor Szalma, Head, Translational Informatics & External Innovation at Janssen Research & Development LLC.

Printing therapeutic nanobots: Nanoscale 3D-printing in pharmaceutical R&D

June 2015

Nanoscale 3D-printing technology has evolved to the point where it is possible to create devices that can operate on the cellular level in biological systems. The implications for the use of these devices in patient therapies are extremely interesting and it would be useful to explore the potential of applying this technology to pharmaceutical and therapeutic development.

During this webinar, Jim McGurk, ‎Global Head of Data Architecture R&D Informatics at Daiichi-Sankyo, will chair a discussion with a panel of experts and ask them to lay out their vision on the potential uses for these devices in the initial- and longer-term.

Panellists include:

  • Dr. Ahmed A. Busnaina, the William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor and Director of the National Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) for High-rate Nanomanufacturing and the NSF Center for Nano and Microcontamination Control at Northeastern University
  • Dr. Utkan Demirci, Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, Canary Center Early Cancer Detection

Ethics Considerations for Big Data Initiatives

May 2015

When we think of Big Data we often focus on the technology and potential for advancements in treatment of chronic, rare or unmet medical need. But there is a growing recognition that these new capabilities create new ethical concerns. We have assembled a panel of experts to highlight some of the emerging concerns and some potential mitigations:

  • Implications for informed consent, and how to ensure data usage is compliant with it
  • Growing risks of re-identification of de-identified patient data
  • Challenges of cloud based platforms for ensuring privacy across country jurisdictions
  • Permanence, transience, and the right to be forgotten in an increasingly interconnected world

The webinar will be chaired by David Fritsche of Sanofi. Panellists include Jennifer E. Miller, Assistant Professor, NYU Langone Medical School, and Fellow, E.J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, Pete Mills of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and Brent Mittelstadt of the Oxford Internet Institute.

The impact of consumerisation in IT on the R&D environment

April 2015

The typical user in a modern organisation has an expectation of corporate IT that has changed dramatically in the last 5-10 years based on the applications available in the ‘outside world’ of daily life. How are organisations responding to those changes and understanding how they work? How are IT professionals delivering these kinds of service-oriented capabilities in a modern setting, moving away from big enterprise technology platforms and towards an ecosystem of smaller specialist solutions? This webinar will look at the impact these changes have had and ask what needs to be done to enable IT organisations to adapt as the technology they have to work with becomes increasingly consumerised.

Text-mining for pharma R&D in a social world

March 2015

Text-mining of journal articles and other publications has long been a subject of interest. It already has applications across R&D and beyond into health care, for instance by analysing electronic health records. The technology has value but also has its limits. With new sources of text to mine becoming mainstream, such as Twitter feeds or Facebook posts that might reference a company’s brand or a drug’s efficacy or adverse events, existing technology needs to be adapted to keep pace. Not only that, but whole new compliance questions arise: does a fleeting mention on Twitter require the same response as a formal notification of an adverse event?

This webinar, chaired by Veit Ulshöfer, Director and Global Head of Research Informatics at Merck KGaA, aims to stimulate discussion and raise interest in this topic, illustrating some interesting case studies along the way. Panellists will include:

  • Jane Reed, Head of Life Science Strategy, Linguamatics
  • Luca Toldo, Associate Director Information Services, Merck KGaA
  • Gordon Baxter, CSO, Instem

Big Data: Solution or Pollution?

February 2015

We are inundated with more and more data. The proliferation of duplicative and un-curated personal health data could confound and complicate any kind of big data efforts. For example, I like to use my Withings fitness tracker to track daily and weekly steps and progress. Now my healthcare company will give me a discount on my premium if I use a Fitbit. So I put that on my other wrist. Suppose I enroll in a clinical trial, and it requires tracking via an iPhone app, which I put in my pocket. I could soon purchase Internet of Things sneakers which would track even more. Every time I walk around, I’m spewing 4x as much biometric data as needed! Which version is correct? Which persists over time? Where does it all end? Does it all have to be generated, stored independently? Can standards and interoperability enable a more rational approach?

Have you encountered or considered these kinds of challenges? Are there solutions already envisioned? Any reason not to worry about the potential impact on medical R&D?

The debate will be chaired by David Fritsche of Sanofi. Panellists will include:

  • Anthony Rowe, Director, Translational Informatics and External Innovation, Johnson & Johnson
  • Ashley George, Global Head of IT Lite, GSK

Ontologies as the glue for knowledge management

January 2015

Ontological resources, such as curated vocabularies and hierarchical ontologies, are used as the glue which is vital for knowledge management on the semantically enabled worldwide web. This webinar will explore selected use cases and challenges for ontological engineering which is critical for a successful life science sector.

Ontology expert Ian Harrow will invite panel members to investigate the current challenges and opportunities in ontology design and management through lively informal debate. The floor will then be opened to webinar participants to ask the panel their own questions and give their opinions.

Panellists include:

  • Martin Romacker, Roche
  • Philippe Rocca-Serra, University of Oxford e-Research Centre
  • Gordon Baxter, Instem

Genomics, Pharmaceutical R&D & Healthcare

Are we there yet?

December 2014

As various genomics initiatives have promised to revolutionize healthcare for over 20 years, it is important to ask whether these have had the impact they were expected to make, and how we might take greater advantage of the technology available.

The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance of life science companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups that work together to lower barriers to innovation in R&D, is hosting a ‘Pistoia Alliance Debates’ webinar which will look at whether the economic, technical and regulatory barriers have been addressed, and how to overcome any that may remain.

The webinar will see Gordon Baxter, CSO at Instem, chair a panel comprised of experts in the field including Abel Ureta-Vidal, CEO at Eagle Genomics, Fiona Nielsen, CEO at DNA Digest, Dan Housman, Director at ConvergeHealth by Deloitte, and Etzard Stolte, former CIO of the Jackson Laboratory.

As well as exploring the remaining obstacles to greater adoption of genomics technology in healthcare, the panel will look at the success of recent genomics initiatives, the impact they have had, and will consider what future genomic innovation may bring to the industry. Following the discussion, webinar attendees will be able to ask questions of the panel.

Cloud Security for Life Science R&D

October 2014

Heartbleed, Russian hackers, Target, HomeDepot, and iCloud breaches - Have the recent high visibility cases of intrusions and data theft altered your plans to move to the cloud?

The webinar will feature introductory remarks by industry experts William Telford (Director, R&D IS Security at Sanofi), and Chris Dagdigian (Founding Partner and Director of Technology at Bioteam). The opening presentations will set the stage for a lively and informative panel debate.

With almost 100 people signed up already, the original round-table format is no longer practical and so we have introduced a panel discussion instead. There will still be an open Q&A with all attendees at the end of the session. Please bring your opinions as well as your questions!