Leading cloud data transformation at Bio-IT World

May 30, 2023

Bio-IT World’s 2023 Conference & Expo was abuzz with discussions of ChatGPT, large language models (LLMs), and new ways to use the cloud for scientific acceleration. Let’s review the highlights together.

Scientific data and AI take center stage

Anastasia Christianson, Ph.D., Vice President & Global Head of AI, ML, Analytics, and Data at Pfizer, set the stage for the three-day event. In her plenary keynote presentation, she noted that a whopping 90% of the data we use today was generated in just the past two years. She named intelligent automation and greater use of the cloud as strategic aims for the industry as it grapples with this data explosion.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) saw the spotlight too. Dr. Christianson sees manufacturing and supply chains as uniquely positioned for AI/ML transformation. We at TetraScience agree and are investing $500 million over the next five years to make it happen.

TetraScience at the 2023 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Data harmonization, digital journeys, and data replatforming were hot topics in the conference tracks and around the exhibition floor. Many vendors are signaling a newfound ambition to acquire, unpack, structure, and/or process scientific data in the cloud.

This sounds very familiar.

Let's look at the facts. Only one company has delivered production-ready, productized integrations to a wealth of raw instrument data: TetraScience. And there's only one solution on the market that collects, centralizes, and harmonizes scientific data for AI/ML: the Tetra Scientific Data Cloud. It was even chosen as a finalist for the 2023 Best of Show award.

Ryan Holway demos Tetra Data Platform to Bio-IT World attendees
Solution Architect Ryan Holway demos the Tetra Data Platform to attendees

Sciborgs bridge the gap between science and IT

Among the many scientists and IT specialists at Bio-IT World were a few "Sciborgs". These are experts in both science and technology who work closely with customers to understand their workflows and leverage the Tetra Scientific Data Cloud to accelerate their scientific outcomes. Unique in the industry, Sciborgs are central to our new Tetra Catalysts offering.

The idea of a Sciborg was novel to many attendees (and welcomed by them). They generally agree that science and IT do not "speak the same language," a challenge for finding and implementing data solutions with the highest scientific impact. Sciborgs bridge the gap and help navigate companies into the digital and laboratory automation world.

At a lunchtime presentation, Tal Aharon, Ph.D., and Katja Hall, Ph.D.—both Sciborgs—showed how end-to-end solutions from TetraScience accelerate bioprocessing and prepare data for AI/ML.

Tal Aharon and Katja Hall from TetraScience present at Bio-IT World
“How to Solve Your Scientific Data Problems” lunch presentation

Tetra Partner Network-ing

Many members of the Tetra Partner Network attended the event, including the newly rebranded Revvity Signals, Certara, and CellPort Software. Bio-IT World served as an exceptional platform for TetraScience to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones. We engaged with nearly 30 vendors over the course of the show.

It was uplifting to see vendors taking the initiative and approaching us about the Tetra Partner Network. They expressed interest in exploring how a partnership could bring enhanced value to our shared customers. We anticipate that several of them will formally join the network in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Phil Michaels of TetraScience demos to Dana Vanderwall at 2023 Bio-IT World
Phil Michaels, a Solutions Architect at TetraScience, gives a demo to Dana Vanderwall

Insights on the biopharma cloud journey

A panel assembled and moderated by TetraScience explored how biopharma companies of different sizes—from startup to top pharma—can leverage the cloud for maximum benefit. Highlights from the conversation follow.

Panel discussion at 2023 Bio-IT World with Mike Tarselli, Asha Mahesh, Yohann Potier and John Damask
“Cloud Guides Your Biopharma Journey” panel discussion with (left to right) Mike Tarselli (TetraScience), Asha Mahesh (Janssen), Yohann Potier (Tessa Therapeutics), and John Damask (Flagship Pioneering)

How do the size and makeup of a company influence its cloud strategy?

The cloud is a natural fit for startups since it keeps CapEx low, freeing up more resources for research. As a company grows, costs rise in part because the cloud environment becomes less well-managed. Often there are "zombie resources that…nobody knows what it is, or they're afraid to delete it," said John Damask, Vice President, Data & Systems Engineering at Flagship Pioneering. "You reach an inflection point where it's important for companies...to manage the cloud as an environment” with a dedicated team.

For a large pharma aiming to implement data science and AI/ML across drug discovery and development, the cloud provides the necessary scalability. Uniting large internal and external datasets and analyzing them requires highly scalable computing. "Doing it on-prem is just not possible," said Asha Mahesh, Senior Director, Data Science Solutions, Privacy & Ethics at Janssen R&D. The cloud also empowers scientists in the organization "because they have access to these resources [and are] able to actually take advantage of their own data."

How can we use the cloud to solve data engineering challenges?

The diversity of services in the cloud enables companies to store data, move data, process data, and capture metadata when they need to. "The cloud and all the services around it really provide you with the ability to adapt the technology to your use case," said Yohann Potier, Ph.D., Director, Data Platform at Tessera Therapeutics, Inc.

The cloud can also help biopharma move towards the goal of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data. However, companies need to implement a thoughtful strategy to get there. "Our industry would be so much better off if we could just get data 'FA' [findable and accessible]...Sometimes our companies run into challenges because it's so easy to acquire data and load it into the cloud, [but] they don't think so much about managing it," said Damask.

Large organizations struggle with data silos and coordinating the purchase and use of external data. "Once we license the data, it needs to be centrally managed...the data gets copied over and over...[and] we lose that traceability," said Mahesh. Companies can centralize and track data much more easily in the cloud than on-prem.

How do you handle security and compliance?

The panelists advocated a "hard shell, soft center" approach to security: tough to hack from the outside but easy to work with from the inside. This enables employees within the organization to quickly find and access what they need.

Cloud providers are now offering security and compliance "out of the box" (like TetraScience does). "They are starting to put these as default now. So, everything is encrypted. Everything is nonpublic. But that wasn't the case a few years ago," said Potier.

What compliance means to a company depends on its stage of growth. "With a startup, the compliance is driven by internal forces. We want to make sure that data is not exposed. We want to make sure that egregious mistakes don't compromise the company...As companies become more successful, then external forces influence what they have to be compliant with," said Damask.

Keep the conversation going

Were you at Bio-IT World 2023? Trying to solve problems like those mentioned above? Interested in learning more about unlocking the full value of your scientific data? Drop us a line!

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