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GSK IT outsourcing contract reflects trend

By Wai Lang Chu , 30-Aug-2005

Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), announced today that it has been awarded an additional information technology (IT) outsourcing contract with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), valued at $100.5 million (€82 million) over five years.

Under terms of the agreement, ACS will provide remote server management and monitoring services for more than 5,000 UNIX, Wintel, OS390 Mainframe, and Open VMS servers located at GSK data centres in the U.S. and United Kingdom (UK).

ACS became an IT outsourcing partner to GSK in June 2003 when ACS began supporting GSK's legacy business systems. In 2004, ACS signed a subsequent agreement to custom build a new Registration and Medication Ordering System (RAMOS), supporting GSK's RAMOS clinical trials.

"ACS was one of the first providers of IT infrastructure services to manage a remote operation of this magnitude in the pharmaceutical industry," said Lynn Blodgett, Group President of ACS Commercial Solutions.

News of this latest agreement mirrors a deal which saw Pfizer recently set up shop in India, harnessing the country's strong IT resources to focus more on clinical trial and other R&D-related information management.

India is swiftly being recognised by leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as a key cost-cutting benefit to be harnessed through outsourcing to India.

The pharmaceutical giant's planned expansion of outsourcing investments in India over the past few years has fallen in line with a wider trend that has seen leading international contract research organisations including multinationals such as Eli Lilly, Wyeth and Novo Nordisk outsource clinical trial activities to India as a means of slashing research costs.

The growth of informatics is mainly driven by a number of factors. The never-ending pressure to speed up drug R&D has forced pharma companies to rely on outside vendors for informatics solutions.

There has also been an exponential increase of data in which companies are now increasingly relying upon complex IT infrastructure to manage the growing amounts of data.

IBM Life Sciences and Sun Microsystems' Life Sciences are both predicting a rapid increase in scientific information in the near term. Already data is going from terabytes (a trillion) to petabytes (a quadrillion) sooner than in any other industry.

Because the computational requirements of proteomics are orders of magnitude greater than genomics, installation of architectures scaled to petabytes is predicted within the next two to three years.

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