InforSense has successfully completed a pilot project at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to enable virtual drug discovery through virtual outsourcing of data analysis via secure Grid technology.
The project is sponsored by SIMDAT – a program funded by the European Commission under the Information Society Technologies Programme (IST) designed to test and enhance Grid data technology for product development and production process design.
'Pharmaceutical companies are moving away from the fortress mentality, which has been prevalent for many years, towards an ecosystem of companies working together without geographical or technical boundaries,' said Rob Gill, head of biology domain architecture at GSK. 'SIMDAT has enabled us to test out all the components we need to support the virtual outsourcing of data analysis in a secure environment. The combination of NEC internet security models, InforSense workflows, GRIA service-oriented infrastructure and data analysis services from BioFocus DPI and Université Libre de Bruxelles has shown how virtual organisations can become a reality.'
In addition to GSK, project partners included NEC Europe Ltd, BioFocus DPI, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Université Libre de Bruxelles, IT Innovation and Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI). The project at GSK involved setting up a secure, Grid-enabled environment to support the electronic outsourcing of data analysis and annotation of biological data to third parties – thus enabling virtual outsourcing. The system, which is built using InforSense workflows, runs across a test-bed comprising five different remote sites and incorporates data services from two external companies. This demonstrates how a once fully internal system of analytical tools and databases for sequence analysis, annotation and 'drugability' can now be distributed across a number of organisations. The project delivers a more collaborative approach to drug discovery, bringing increased flexibility and efficiency to the process, while still ensuring the data exchange is secure and controlled.