Bio-IT World Announces the Winners of Its Tenth Annual Best Practices Awards

Press Release | Bio-IT World, Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI) | April 30, 2014

Awards Announced from Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston

Boston, Mass (PRWEB) April 30, 2014--Bio-IT World announced the winners of its tenth annual Best Practices Awards competition this morning in a plenary session at the 2014 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston.

Grand prize winners were named in five life sciences categories highlighting best practices in clinical trial IT, research infrastructure, bioinformatics, cloud computing and data management from AstraZeneca and Tessella, U-BIOPRED, the Pistoia Alliance, Baylor College of Medicine, and Genentech.

In addition, a Judges’ Prize was awarded to the UK National Health Service and the Editors’ Choice Award was given to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Projects from AstraZeneca and TrialNetworks received honorable mention.

“We are delighted to honor these outstanding organizations for their forward-thinking approaches to solving some of the greatest challenges facing the biomedical community today,” said Allison Proffitt, editor of Bio-IT World. “For the ten years we have presented the Best Practices Awards, the innovation of our entrants has consistently surprised and impressed us, and this year’s winners are no exception. They are driving the life sciences forward in ways that deserve to be recognized and replicated.”

The Best Practices Awards program was established in 2003 by the editors of Bio-IT World to recognize cutting-edge approaches to the use of information technology to advance basic biomedical research, drug discovery, and clinical trials, while providing a blueprint for success with the potential for impact across the industry.

The ceremony took place this morning at the World Trade Center in Boston, where the awards were presented by Allison Proffitt and William Van Etten, Ph.D. veteran judge, and founding partner at BioTeam.

A panel of ten invited expert judges joined the editors in reviewing 30 detailed submissions from organizations ranging from large pharmaceutical and biomedical companies to academic centers to startup service providers around the world, selecting winners in five categories as well as two special awards from the judges and the editors.

The grand prize trophies were presented to the following organizations in these categories:

Clinical & Health IT: AstraZeneca and Tessella

Real Time Analytics for Clinical Trials (REACT)

AstraZeneca’s REACT system, implemented with input from Tessella, tracks vital statistics, laboratory tests and adverse events on both population and subject-specific levels during the course of a clinical trial. By collecting this information together in a platform with flexible visualization and query features, as well as a complete profile for each patient, REACT allows AstraZeneca to respond rapidly to safety concerns and swiftly identify risk factors for adverse events, protecting trial participants while rescuing trials from costly late-stage failures.

Research & Drug Discovery: U-BIOPRED

tranSMART-Based U-BIOPRED Study

Through the U-BIOPRED Knowledge Portal, built into the tranSMART platform for clinical and -omics data management, a consortium of over 30 partners from industry and academia were able to securely share longitudinal clinical, proteomic, and transcriptomic data on hundreds of respiratory disease patients in a search for key biomarkers.

Informatics: The Pistoia Alliance

Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules (HELM)

HELM is a system of standardized naming for complex biomolecules, which defines these molecules as rigorously as chemists have long defined simpler compounds. By describing biomolecules through a hierarchical sequence of monomers, the open source HELM technology allows researchers and organizations to rapidly enter, share, and modify molecules without ambiguity.

IT Infrastructure & HPC: Baylor College of Medicine with DNAnexus

CHARGE: Large-Scale Genomic Analysis in the Cloud

To fulfill its role in the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium, Baylor College of Medicine undertook the largest genome analytics project in the cloud to date, using the DNAnexus platform. Using DNAnexus allowed Baylor to annotate 4,000 whole genomes and 11,000 whole exomes in record time, without monopolizing the local compute cluster.

Knowledge Management: Genentech

Genentech Cell Line Resource

Genentech’s centralized cell line bank contains over 1,800 cell lines, each represented by an average of 90,000 vials. By creating the gCell web platform to track and characterize these cell lines, Genentech has been able to create a genetic definition of each line, flag contamination and mislabeling, and curate new knowledge about individual cell lines to guide and optimize future research.

Judges’ Prize: UK National Health Service

Riak Deployment for Spine2 Distributed Database

The Spine database connects patient and services information across 27,000 British organizations that provide NHS care. By implementing Basho’s open source Riak database for the Spine2 overhaul of this system, the NHS can now instantaneously update information on any of the 80 million patients it serves, such that the new information is visible to any care provider, while maintaining a leaner and more flexible IT infrastructure that can be managed entirely in-house.

Editors’ Prize: The Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai with Ayasdi

Rethinking Type 2 Diabetes Through Topological Analysis

In analyzing medical records and genetic data on over 11,000 patients with Type 2 Diabetes, Mt. Sinai used Ayasdi’s insight discovery platform, which draws correlations between diverse data points through topological analysis. By clustering cases together based on features shared by specific cohorts, Mt. Sinai arrived at a novel hypothesis that Type 2 Diabetes should be treated as three separate conditions with distinct contributing factors. This analysis suggests a precision medicine approach may be beneficial for treating Type 2 Diabetes.

Honorable Mentions

TrialNetworks’ clinical trial optimization system is a cloud-based platform brings everyone together—sponsors, sites, CROs and vendors—to speed the development and delivery of new drugs and therapies to patients. The platform features a unified suite of collaborative trial management apps and intuitive site tools to optimize key aspects of a trial: startup; enrollment; trial conduct; and closeout.

AstraZeneca’s Canvas 3 application helps researchers search for and collate information from various databases to identify and make decisions on a compound including corporate compound collections, Scifinder, TRCortellis, e-Lab notebooks, Pubmed, ACD, eMolecules, ChEBI, and Chemspider. Given any compound or drug name, structure or corporate ID, Canvas rapidly searches in-house and external data to answer these questions and others: Is the compound’s structure known? Is there a sample in the corporate collection? Is it commercially available? Is the compound proprietary, published in the literature, queued for synthesis or novel? Is it a drug, a controlled substance or under a corporate restriction? What are its physical properties? How might it be named in a patent? What biological data is available?

Criteria and Judging

Awards finalists and winners were selected for their innovative use of biomedical information technologies including informatics, computing resources, and knowledge management on a project or organizational level to achieve significantly improved results in operational efficiency, patient service, or research breakthroughs. The judges rated entries on several criteria, including innovation, unmet need, return on investment and likely industry impact, seeking stories that spotlighted the practical and positive deployment of novel technologies in academic, medical or commercial organizations. For further information on Bio-IT World’s Best Practices Awards, please email marketing_chmg(at)chimediagroup(dot)com.

The 2014 Best Practices Awards were organized by Bio-IT World editor Allison Proffitt and staff reporter Aaron Krol. Joining the editors in judging the entries was a distinguished panel of experts:

        Kevin Davies, American Chemical Society
        Chris Dwan, the Broad Institute
        Stephen Fogelson, Develotron, LLC
        Martin Gollery, Tahoe Informatics
        Alan Louie, IDC Health Insights
        Phillips Kuhl, Cambridge Healthtech Institute
        Jerry Schindler, Merck
        Jonathan Usaka, Celgene
        William Van Etten, BioTeam
        Susan Ward, Consultant

The 2015 Bio-IT World Best Practices competition will begin soliciting entries in October 2014. Contact: Allison Proffitt: aproffitt(at)healthtech(dot)com, 617-233-8280.

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Part of the Cambridge Healthtech Institute Media Group (, Bio-IT World provides outstanding coverage of cutting-edge trends and technologies that impact the management and analysis of life sciences data, including next-generation sequencing, drug discovery, predictive and systems biology, informatics tools, clinical trials, and personalized medicine. Through a variety of sources including,, Weekly Update Newsletter and the Bio-IT World News Bulletins, Bio-IT World is a leading source of news and opinion on technology and strategic innovation in the life sciences, including drug discovery and development.

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