Transformative change means rethinking the scientific computing workflow. 

The need to embrace and enhance data science within the Life Sciences has never been greater. Yet, many Life Sciences organizations performing  drug discovery face significant obstacles when transforming their legacy workflows.

Multiple factors contribute to the friction between the way Life Science research has traditionally been run and the way it needs to run moving forward. Companies that overcome these obstacles will be better equipped to capitalize on tomorrow’s research advances.

5 Obstacles to the Cloud-First Data Strategy and How to Address Them 

Life Science research organizations are right to dedicate resources towards maximizing research efficiency and improving outcomes. Enabling the full-scale Cloud transformation of a biopharma research lab requires identifying and addressing the following five obstacles.

1. Cultivating a Talent Pool of Data Scientists

Life Science researchers use a highly developed skill set to discover new drugs, analyze clinical trial data, and perform biostatistics on the results. These skills do not always overlap with the demands of next-generation data science infrastructure. Life Science research firms that want to capitalize on emerging data science opportunities will need to cultivate data science talent they can rely on.

Aligning data scientists with therapy areas and enabling them to build a nuanced understanding of drug development is key to long-term success. Biopharmaceutical firms need to embed data scientists in the planning and organization of clinical studies as early as possible and partner them with biostatisticians to build productive long-term relationships.

2. Rethinking Clinical Trials and Collaborations

Life Science firms that begin taking a data science-informed approach to clinical studies in early drug development will have to ask difficult questions about past methodologies:

  • Do current trial designs meet the needs of a diverse population?
  • Are we including all relevant stakeholders in the process?
  • Could decentralized or hybrid trials drive research goals in a more efficient way?
  • Could we enhance patient outcomes and experiences using the tools we have available?
  • Will manufacturers accept and build the required capabilities quickly enough?
  • How can we support a global ecosystem for real-world data that generates higher-quality insights than what was possible in the past?
  • How can we use technology to make non-data personnel more capable in a cloud-first environment?
  • How can we make them data-enabled?

All of these questions focus on the ability for data science-backed cloud technology to enable new clinical workflows. Optimizing drug discovery requires addressing inefficiencies in clinical trial methodology.

3. Speeding Up the Process of Achieving Data Interoperability

Data silos are among the main challenges that Life Science researchers face with legacy systems. Many Life Science organizations lack a company-wide understanding of the total amount of data and insights they have available. So much data is locked in organizational silos that merely taking stock of existing data assets is not possible.

The process of cleaning and preparing data to fuel AI-powered data science models is difficult and time-consuming. Transforming terabyte-sized databases with millions of people records into curated, AI-ready databases manually is slow, expensive, and prone to human error.

Automated interoperability pipelines can reduce the time spent on this process to a matter of hours. The end result is a clean, accurate database fully ready for AI-powered data science. Researchers can now create longitudinal person records (LPRs) with ease.

4. Building Infrastructure for Training Data Models

Transforming legacy operations into fast, accurate AI-powered ones requires transparent access to many different data sources. Setting up the infrastructure necessary takes time and resources. Additionally, it can introduce complexity when identifying how to manage multiple different data architectures. Data quality itself may be inconsistent between sources.

Building a scalable pipeline for training AI data models requires scalable cloud technology that can work with large training datasets quickly. Without reputable third-party infrastructure in place, the process of training data models can take months.

5. Protecting Trade Secrets and Patient Data

Life Science research often relies on sensitive technologies and proprietary compounds that constitute trade secrets for the company in question. Protecting intellectual property has always been a critical challenge in the biopharmaceutical industry, and today’s cybersecurity landscape only makes it more important.

Clinical trial data, test results, and confidential patient information must be protected in compliance with privacy regulations. Life Science research organizations need to develop centralized policies that control the distribution of sensitive data to internal users and implement automated approval process workflows for granting access to sensitive data.

Endpoint security solutions help ensure sensitive data is only downloadable to approved devices and shared according to protocol. This enables Life Science researchers to share information with partners and supply chain vendors without compromising confidentiality.

A Robust Cloud-First Strategy is Your Key to Life Science Modernization

Deploying emergent technologies in the Life Science industry can lead to optimal research outcomes and better use of company resources. Developing a cloud computing strategy that either supplements or replaces aspects of your legacy system requires input and buy-in from every company stakeholder it impacts. Consult with the expert Life Science research consultants at RCH Solutions to find out how your research team can capitalize on the digital transformation taking place in Life Science.

RCH Solutions is a global provider of computational science expertise, helping Life Sciences and Healthcare firms of all sizes clear the path to discovery for nearly 30 years. If you’re interesting in learning how RCH can support your goals, get in touch with us here. 

Mike Wlodarczyk

Mike spends his days supporting our customers and prospects, offering solutions to help them meet their compute needs.