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4/2/2014
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Pfizer Connects Dots To Deliver Better Treatments

The pharmaceutical company, No. 1 in the InformationWeek Elite 100 ranking, uses big data to tailor treatments to specific patient populations.

big drug is likely to acquire additional clinical data through mergers and acquisitions. The standards built into Oracle's Life Sciences Hub cover integration as well as version control, data security profiles, tracking, time stamps, and data indexing and searching.

"By putting it in the cloud, we created a space where we could aggregate data from different companies, and it frees us to work with any partner as long as they can deliver data to our environment in a standardized way," Bremer explains.

'By putting [the repository] in the cloud, we created a space where we could aggregate data from different companies.' -- Deb Bremer, VP, Pfizer
"By putting [the repository] in the cloud, we created a space where we could aggregate data from different companies." -- Deb Bremer, VP, Pfizer

3. The EMR component of Pfizer's data ecosystem contains "hundreds of millions" of anonymized records, Bremer says. It's built on Teradata; Pfizer uses Tableau Software for data exploration and visualization. The company also uses Tibco Spotfire for data analysis and visualization, but it typically uses that tool in the tranSMART and Clinical Cloud environments.

Many pharmaceutical, research, academic, and healthcare organizations are trying to take advantage of the vastly larger genomic and medical record data sets that have become available over the last few years. Pfizer's Precision Medicine Analytics Ecosystem stands out because it taps all three data types and makes them readily available to company researchers at scale with tools they can use for predictive analysis.

"It gives us the ability to model and predict outcomes in certain patient populations, and that presents a massive opportunity to bring more therapeutics to market very quickly," Keisling says. "Previously, it all had to be done with testing on humans, and that means trial and error, expense, and risk."

If Pfizer researchers notice patterns in medical record data that lead to a hypothesis, they can quickly determine whether the hypothesis is validated in clinical trial data. They also can turn to the genetic data to better understand the character and size of a patient population that might benefit from a novel treatment. With predictive analysis across all three data sets, Keisling and Bremer say, Pfizer can quickly determine how best to design a much more focused clinical trial and what part of the body to target in connection with a particular disease.

Pfizer already has several products on the market and many others in development that have benefited from high-scale analysis across genetic, clinical, and medical record data, Keisling says. "We expect significant progress in the short term and the long term thanks to this ecosystem," he says. "So we're not just waiting for the benefit. We're seeing it now."

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Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/2/2014 | 7:47:14 PM
Re: It's not "promise"; it's results in the here and now
Yes, and it's particularly gratifying to see a long-term possibility morph into a life enhancing and life saving reality. Bravo to Pfizer.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 5:59:45 PM
Matching up disease subsets with genomes
Spotting  a subset population with both the same disease and same genetic mutation is a huge breakthrough for human health. Before this, we could identify one or the other but big data techniques allow us to match them up. Way to go, Pfizer.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 2:18:25 PM
In comparison...
Doug mentions that many pharmaceutical companies do amass and compare data but I wonder whether anyone knows more about these firms' big data programs? It would be interesting to see how they compare with Pfizer's system.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 2:16:22 PM
The patient perspective
Now patients want more control over their health -- through ownership of EHRs, portals, and incorporation of fitness-tracking devices, etc. -- it's natural that consumers want to also review all available treatment options so they can discuss them with physicians. When you add to that consumers' growing fascination with genetics and family trees, I can see where businesses like Zibdy fit into the big healthcare picture. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 2:13:07 PM
Re: It's not "promise"; it's results in the here and now
That's why this is so exciting: Pfizer (and hopefully its competitors) are already seeing results from their investment in big data. And while some industries' investment in technology lead to bigger profits or improved customer service, in the case of pharmaceuticals the benefit can be saving lives or improving the qualify of life for those with a disease or other affliction (and profits, too, of course so they can continue their research into other medications). 

As pharma companies reduce the costs and the time it takes to develop drugs, this also holds promise for so-called orphan drugs and people with rare conditions that aren't necessarily profitable for drug-makers to research and try to cure or control. Kudos to Pfizer. This investment and use of big data is a win for the company and patients. 
ZibdyHealth01
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ZibdyHealth01,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/2/2014 | 1:43:29 PM
Re: It's not "promise"; it's results in the here and now

An excellent article, we are glad that Pfizer is finally working on this. EMR data can be very powerful tool from pharmaceutical company's perspective. We have launched a platform, ZibdyHealth, which takes similar approach from patient's perspective based on linked patient records. Pfizer is putting their billions to good use to develop some novel drugs and we are offering similar capabilities to the patient for free to identify medications which work or not work based on their family medical history (FMH). In addition, EMR data is limited to USA and few other countries but our platform can be used by patients globally. The information from FMH is interesting as it not only includes genetics lineage but often families live in the same environment and have similar lifestyle.

Here is article about ZibdyHealth by David Carr publish only few days back http://goo.gl/myJ4kh

D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 11:08:03 AM
It's not "promise"; it's results in the here and now
Commenters should read the whole story, not just the headline. The point here is that big data analysis has already led to breakthrough drugs. Pfizer isn't waiting for results, it has at least one such product in the market and many more in the pipeline.  
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/2/2014 | 10:00:41 AM
Re: Good
Big-data has promising future and wide utilization in healthcare. I do hope that we will have a smart system with big data analytics behind so that our patients will receive good treatment. However, we cannot reply on it 100% and the judgement from experienced doctors is still mandatory.
Madhava verma dantuluri
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Madhava verma dantuluri,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/2/2014 | 7:09:24 AM
Good
This is good that lots of promises and commitment for better treatment.
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