IBM has introduced its new InsightLink software, an application created by its IBM Life Sciences and IBM Research divisions to help pharmaceutical companies create searchable online databases that will enable more sharing of research knowledge.
InsightLink targets the drug discovery phase, helping pharmaceutical companies eliminate redundant work and foster collaboration among researchers. It is designed to capture the flow of ideas, annotations and insights on experiments into a database system that can be accessed and utilised throughout an entire research organization.
The pharmaceuticals industry is increasingly turning to IT to streamline the drug discovery process and improve efficiencies at a time when R&D productivity is on the wane.
One company that is already convinced of the merits of InsightLink is Chiron of the USA. Eric Martin, director of computational chemistry at the firm, said that the new software package "provides a mechanism for capturing, searching and retrieving valuable meta-information associated with diverse technical documents. These metadata will save time and money by helping decision makers efficiently obtain facts and interpretations needed to synthesize the comprehensive picture required for well-informed judgments."
Some drug companies, such as Eli Lilly, have been creating in-house repositories for metadata in order to make the most of the information being generated on compounds across the entire group. However, IBM believes that InsightLink will bring the approach into mainstream practice, and is compatible with a host of different applications, including visualization tools, chemical compound libraries, high-throughput screening devices, and electronic lab notebooks.
The new IBM offering, which will be generally available in the fourth quarter, complements IBM DiscoveryLink data-integration software, which helps researchers search for and integrate data from diverse data sources and file types. Researchers can get a single-formatted view of information without moving the data or changing its underlying format.
"InsightLink can help transform a centuries-old paper-based research model into an efficient online process for capturing annotations such as a researcher's observations about unusual properties of a chemical compound; the rationale for aborting or continuing a research project; a physician's notes explaining a treatment decision; and other important latent knowledge that can benefit other researchers and accelerate scientific discovery," said IBM Life Sciences.