2024 Innovative Practices Winners in Informatics, Collaboration, Clinical IT, Genomics

March 19, 2024

By Bio-IT World Staff

March 19, 2024 | Bio-IT World today announced the 2024 Innovative Practices Awards winners. Six projects were honored. Companies driving the winning entries included AstraZeneca, DNAnexus, Pistoia Alliance, Regeneron, Tempus, and UK Biobank.  

The awards ceremony will be held during the plenary program on Wednesday, April 17, at the 2024 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston. The winning entries will be presented in a session dedicated to these projects: Best Practices In Technology Innovation on Wednesday, April 17, from 10:30am to 12:10pm.  

Since 2003, Bio-IT World has hosted an elite awards program with the goal of highlighting outstanding examples of how technology innovations and strategic initiatives are being applied to advance life sciences research. This year’s winning projects represent excellence in innovation in the areas of informatics, pre-competitive collaboration, clinical and health IT, and genomics.  

“The Innovative Practices Awards winners represent the best in the life sciences’ collaborative and innovative accomplishments,” said Allison Proffitt, Bio-IT World Editorial Director. “From groundbreaking projects years in the making, to steady progress in operational excellence, the Innovative Practices Awards reflect where our industry is  headed and provide a roadmap to get there.”  

2024 Bio-IT World Innovative Practices Awards Winners 

Here are the six winning groups and their projects, as described in their own words. 

AstraZeneca (nominated by Tempus): Clinical and Health IT Winner 

Tempus and AstraZeneca co-designed a framework on how to systematically implement and quantify the benefits of deploying AI and multimodal data at scale to accelerate and de-risk key phase 3 registrational clinical trials. In applying the framework, AstraZeneca saw an average increase of 5 percentage points in Probability of Technical Success (PTS) across all clinical trials and made it an integral piece of the company’s clinical design process moving forward. 

Regeneron: Informatics to Achieve Operational Excellence Winner 

Our judges chose to honor three Regeneron projects in a joint award: Informatics to Achieve Operational Excellence.  

Automated High-Throughput Flow Cytometry (HTFC) Data Processing Pipeline: Regeneron created a high-throughput screening platform that allows our scientists to test multiple conditions simultaneously with a highly sensitive assay technology for antibody characterization. The Automated High-Throughput Flow Cytometry (HTFC) Data Processing Pipeline supports this platform by replacing manual scientist data workflows with a combination of engineering, automation, and self-service. Built on a foundation of existing applications and tools in our IT ecosystem, this pipeline is driven by configuration files created automatically by the scientists themselves through interactive dashboards. As a result, our scientists focus on the biological relevance of experiments while modified data processing scripts and metadata tagging workflows run in the background. The pipeline automates complex data processing steps while also delivering a more pleasant and effective quality control experience. This project allows Regeneron to choose a complex data-rich assay for routine screenings of our antibodies and accelerate lead antibody discovery for Regeneron to find new medicines. 

Regeneron Protein 3-D Structure Prediction (Protein Folding): Because proteins are involved in so many of our physiological processes (including tissue repair, virus fighting and nutrient transportation), understanding their 3D structures or how they interact with each other is critical in developing new drugs with specific targets. Regeneron computational scientists and engineers partnered to transform how we predict and understand protein folding and protein-protein interactions by leveraging our internal cloud computational platform. Now, our researchers use AI to deliver 3D renderings of protein-protein interactions, in parallel, and at large scale – effectively empowering us to speed up drug discovery.  

TIDES: Transforming Information with Digital Experimental Solutions: Regeneron scientists partnered with IT engineers to implement a voice-to-text (VTT) solution, LabVoice, to solve an industry-wide challenge—digitizing scientific information in lab environments—and went a step further by creating custom analytics dashboards that provide live, actionable insights based on the data. We began by implementing custom low-code workflows on our scientists’ mobile devices, eliminating the need for memorization and transcription, while standardizing and optimizing our processes for data quality and searchability. As of today, LabVoice has effectively captured more than 174,000 data points, both automated and manual. The data is used to understand the number of new litters, test subject attributes, and natural breeding trends across facilities. Ultimately, our solution has delivered hands-free data capture for our research scientists while providing key insights from the data. 

Pistoia Alliance: Pre-Competitive Collaboration Winner 

Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP) implementation varies greatly across different organizations and regulatory jurisdictions, impacting drug safety and pharmacovigilance. The Pistoia Alliance has built an IDMP Ontology to enable deep, semantic interoperability based on FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles, augmenting existing ISO IDMP standards set by the European Medical Agency. Using its framework for open innovation, the Pistoia Alliance brought together 11 pharmaceutical companies (Bayer, Novartis, GSK, Roche, Merck KGaA, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Amgen, AbbVie and Pfizer and representatives from EDM Council, ACCURIDS, OSTHUS and Chemantics). This collaborative innovation has reduced duplicated efforts and has led to the development of a new freely available IDMP Ontology (IDMP-O Release 1) available under an open-source license. The project makes it possible for everybody to benefit from IDMP standardization, improving pharmacovigilance, enabling cross-border prescriptions, and helping the prevention of medication shortages through interoperability with manufacturers. 

UK Biobank (nominated by DNAnexus): Global Impact Award Winner 

In November 2023, UK Biobank unveiled incredible new whole genome sequencing data from all its 500,000 participants – and, in a landmark for medical research, it has made the data globally available via a purpose-built, cloud-based platform. After five years and over £200 million of investment, this was the most ambitious genetic sequencing project of its kind ever undertaken. The abundance of genomic data is unparalleled, but its real value comes from being combined with the existing wealth of data UK Biobank has collected from its participants over the past 15 years on their health and lifestyle, and from whole body imaging scans and proteins found in the blood. Securely sharing this amount of complex health data, over 30 petabytes, had not been done before. DNAnexus and UK Biobank built an online research analysis platform allowing approved, global researchers to access the secure data, and also gave them the required tools to analyze the de-identified data. Today, over 30,000 researchers from more than 90 countries are registered to use UK Biobank.