5 Ways to Improve Drug Discovery Outcomes In 2021

Implement these strategies to accelerate drug R&D success in the New Year.

By Mike Wlodarczyk

Account Executive,  RCH Solutions

2020 was a tough year for everyone, but it was also a landmark year for medical science.

New advances, like Pfizer and Moderna’s innovative mRNA COVID-19 vaccines as well as an emerging option from J&J, hold great promise in the world of drug development. Drug researchers are now using similar technologies for innovative therapies like individualized, mRNA-based cancer vaccines.

While these are exciting times for research scientists and Bio-IT teams, capitalizing on early drug discovery innovation is a growing challenge. The need to improve efficiency and accelerate drug discovery outcomes is greater now than ever before.

Research scientists must now review their IT strategy and audit data-centric workflows. The efficiency with which research laboratories handle large quantities of data can become a bottleneck on the quality of research outcomes. Bio-IT teams have a unique opportunity to identify data analysis gaps, automate manual processes, and leverage emerging technologies to improve research outcomes.

5 Strategies to Improve Research Outcomes for 2021

We’ve identified five steps that research scientists and their IT teams can implement to improve research workflows during early drug discovery. Make data optimization and workflow efficiency a priority now to save valuable time and money without negatively impacting the quality of your data. These strategies will speed up research and development processes without sacrificing their scientific integrity.


1. Review Your IT Infrastructure: Identify Gaps and Opportunities

In order to reach your lab’s full potential, you need to perform a systematic overview of the way you handle data during drug discovery. The goal is to identify time-consuming processes that modern data infrastructure can improve.

Biopharmaceutical research is a cutting-edge industry, but it’s also an industry where adopting new technology can be expensive and difficult to manage. Your Bio-IT team likely faces time-consuming obstacles in at least one process in its overall data structure, and most teams have several areas they could enhance.

There are structural reasons why this is the case. To begin, many scientists are incredibly protective of their data, and rightfully so as it’s the primary currency in the business of science. The result, however, is that they may be more hesitant to change systems that handle and store that data, even if for the better. And if data management standards have not kept pace with best practices—which point to a system where data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and readable—their scientific workflows could be hindered.

Optimized IT infrastructure can help free scientists’ time for high-impact research tasks. Look for opportunities to automate processes that rely on manual data entry and analysis. These are tasks for which emerging technologies generate solid returns by streamlining the lowest-impact processes in the drug discovery workflow.


2. Deploy Emerging Technologies (AI, ML, DL)

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning are among the most exciting technologies emerging in today’s world. New advances in these fields are rapidly changing the way data-heavy industries like drug research and development work.

Upgrading your IT infrastructure to incorporate AI, ML, or DL technology is not a simple task. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that is guaranteed to produce optimal results.

Instead, drug researchers and Bio-IT teams need to look for unique, situational opportunities where emerging technologies can generate value. These depend heavily on the way your particular lab is set up, what kind of equipment you use, and how data is handled day-to-day. Contracting a scientific IT consultant can help you identify the processes best-suited to emerging technologies.


3.  Optimize Lab Processes and Workflows

It’s common for scientific organizations to focus too intently on physical equipment. But modern drug discovery does not rely on any single tool over all others. Drug research and development is an iterative, collaborative process that requires multiple teams (and their tools) to communicate with one another smoothly.

A truly optimized laboratory environment is one where data can be seamlessly exchanged, processed, and interpreted along the entire biopharma workflow. Data silos and manual data entry need to be replaced by secure systems that enable efficient data-driven decision making and operational excellence.


4. Invest in Scalable Team Support from Qualified Specialists

Your IT needs will grow as your infrastructure expands. The average IT support team doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle the support requests of a biopharmaceutical team and won’t be able to assist with advanced data analysis or your lab’s daily computing needs.

IT support teams must understand how your research IT team handles your technology. This requires an intimate grasp of the unique software your team works with, as well as clear processes for maintaining the integrity of research data.


5.  Get Objective Advice From Specialized Consultants

Scientists often over-rely on equipment manufacturers for advice. While it’s true that manufacturers know their products best, they don’t know your laboratory nearly as well nor, are they as familiar with another vendor product. In fact, they have no incentive to understand your laboratory as long as you purchase their equipment.

Get objective advice from a scientific computing consultant who understands your laboratory and the unique environment it represents. This kind of specialized guidance will help you concentrate spending in ways that verifiably improve research outcomes.


Find Out How to Optimize Your Drug Research Processes

Our scientific computing experts will help you identify areas where your laboratory can improve and help you deploy emerging technologies to improve research outcomes. As objective consultants, we aren’t beholden to any particular manufacturers or technologies – we’ll only recommend the providers that best serve your research goals.

By recommending technologies and vendors that will save you time with data entry and analysis; reduce inefficiencies in your workflow, and improve the security and speed of your IT infrastructure, RCH Solutions can help you make faster, more meaningful contributions to the ground-breaking life sciences research that advances our world every day.

Ready to make a change?

If your organization is ready to imagine the possibilities with the right specialty IT partner by its side, click below to set up a consultation with RCH Solutions.

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