Pistoia Alliance Driving Open Innovation in Bioresearch

As detailed in this blog post, we received the July issue of the Pistoia Alliance newsletter this morning and decided that it was so full of interesting news and content that we would run it in its entirety in Open Health News as an article. Below is the full version of their newsletter. Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, OHNews.

Success at the 4th Annual Conference in NYC

The Pistoia Alliance recently held its 4th Annual Conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. As part of the Next Chapter Initiative this was widened to a three-day event to include a special members-only meeting on the second day, kindly hosted by Thomson Reuters at their headquarters in Times Square, and a face-to-face board meeting hosted by Roche at the Alexandria Centre.

The combined result of these three days of meetings was a big success for the Pistoia Alliance with a significantly increased pipeline of project ideas resulting from a series of brainstorming sessions, an increased level of engagement on Pistoia Alliance activities, and plenty of new relationships established with researchers and managers from numerous institutes and companies. As the new kid on the block, our new EDO Richard Holland wrote a blog post on his observations and experiences of the event. [Read the blog post]

Innovation Platform Preview

The new Interactive Project Portfolio Platform (IP3) was demonstrated and audience members encouraged to log in and submit new ideas. The platform is undergoing final testing and will be formally launched later this month, but users can already log in and submit their ideas.

Those ideas that attract the most discussion and interaction on the platform will progress towards becoming a funded Pistoia Alliance project. The system is open to all to submit ideas and the assessment process is conducted in the open. The more you interact with your favourite project on IP3, the more likely it will eventually get funded, so make a point of checking IP3 regularly!

Pistoia Project Updates

Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules

Exchangeable HELM - a format for sharing biomolecule definitions between different organisations with different naming standards - was released on July 1st. [Read the press release]

On July 9th, the HELM project team will host a webinar to showcase the project and its latest features to Pistoia Alliance members and the general research community. [Register for the HELM webinar]

HELM is currently seeking funding for the next phase of activity. Get in touch with Claire Bellamy or John Wise if you are interested in becoming a part of making the Pistoia Alliance HELM project an even bigger success.

Controlled Substance Compliance Service

Following the successful completion of the original CSCS project earlier this year, on June 25th an Expert Community was established to bring together interested parties from across the vendor and end-user space to share experiences and expertise. Activities will include producing test datasets for new geographies, e.g. China, and answering queries about specific aspects of legislation.

The CSCS Expert Community is always open to new members and anyone interested should contact Anne Dunlop. Meetings are held monthly by conference call. [Revisit the kickoff meeting on the CSCS website]


The Analysome is the term given to the collection of all human analytes that can be measured and the technologies that can measure them, the limits of quantification of those technologies and the quality of those measurements. Such information - if curated, stored and accessed via an easy-to-use, globally-available, web-based catalogue - would be of substantial value to the life science R&D community in support of its search for the best assays to research activities.

The Pistoia Alliance has developed a working prototype of the Analysome search engine and is now seeking project team members and funding to develop this concept and associated business models whereby the Analysome could become a sustainable resource for life science R&D. [Watch a video of the demonstration]

The Pistoia Alliance invites all interested parties to participate in the Analysome webinar on July 24th, especially pharma partners, biomarker scientists or commercial suppliers active in or interested in the Analysome project. [Register for the Analysome webinar]

For further information on the Analysome, attend the webinar or contact Peter Boogaard or John Wise.

Upcoming Events

Comings and Goings

In June 2014, a couple of changes took place in the operations team that looks after the Pistoia Alliance's day-to-day activities.

Richard HollandJoining the Pistoia Alliance as part of the Next Chapter Initiative is Richard Holland, who has become our Executive Director of Operations. Richard comes with a wealth of experience within the life sciences industry, having spent the last six years at Eagle Genomics where he was instrumental in forming the company and developing it to its current position as an expert provider of bioinformatics software and services across a wide range of life science and other sectors. [Read the press release]

Vas Alli, our Director of Communications, has left to pursue further management consulting opportunities with his consultancy firm SRI Ventures. The Pistoia Alliance and Vas plan to continue their relationship as he will join us as an Individual Contributing Member. We look forward to seeing Vas at our conferences in future and again wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors. [Read the announcement]

Board Matters

At the Pistoia Alliance board meeting held in NYC at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, hosted by Roche, the board established two new sub-committees with oversight of finance and governance. Interested members should contact Martyn Wilkins for more information on how these will operate.

Christer Blixt now represents AstraZenecea on the board in place of his predecessor Jason Swift. An election will be run in the coming weeks for a new Core Member company to fill the board seat recently vacated by Lundbeck. In addition, the full annual election for all six Participating Member board seats will be run before this September's Pistoia Alliance Annual General Meeting. Interested candidates should contact Martyn Wilkins.

Membership Matters

At the members-only meeting in New York, the Pistoia Alliance established two new organising groups of members to assist with conference planning and the creation of a webinar series. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about these groups should contact Richard Holland.

Members new to Pistoia: PerkinElmer have re-joined and Osthus have joined as Participating Members; Promeditec and QFAB Bioinformatics have joined as Contributing Members, and Philip Quinlan and Rachel Belani Baker have joined as Individual Contributing Members. Unilever, Parthys Reverse Informatics, Hewlett Packard, InfoChem and Lundbeck have not renewed their membership this year.

The Pistoia Alliance currently has 82 members in total; 11 Core, 13 Participating and 58 Contributing.

This article is a reprint of the Pistoia Alliance's July 2014 newsletter. It is reprinted in Open Health News with permission. Original can be found here.