Tag Archives: IDBS

Dr Paul Denny-Gouldson, VP Strategic Solutions & Dr Scott Weiss, Senior Director of Product Management, IDBS

Paul Denny-GouldsonAs VP of Strategic Solutions, Paul heads the overall strategic planning for the various market verticals and scientific domains that IDBS works in. By working both internally, across IDBS, and externally, with customers and partners, Paul is charged with the exploration and creation of new products, solutions and service offerings. He joined IDBS in 2005 as part of the acquisition of his ELN company and has spearheaded the drive to make E-WorkBook Suite the market leader.

Prior to this, Paul founded a number of companies focused on combining science, technology and business. He started his career as a Post Doc and subsequently Senior Scientist at Sanofi-Synthelabo Toulouse (now Sanofi) for just under five years, where he managed a multi-disciplinary molecular and cell biology department.

Paul obtained his PhD in Computational Biology from Essex University in 1996, and has authored over 25 scientific papers and book chapters.

Scott WeissScott joined IDBS in 2004, and leverages over 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical drug development, informatics and software development. He is currently responsible for product strategy at IDBS, and enjoys leading a talented team focused on designing intuitive software that enables organizations to accelerate their R&D – by fostering efficiency, collaboration and data insight. Prior to IDBS, he served as Director of In-Vivo Pharmacology at Vernalis Research. Scott obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology specializing in neuroscience at the University of Leeds and has authored over 45 scientific papers, journal articles and patents.

1. What did the audience learn from attending the webinar?

Paul Denny-Gouldson: We hope that we made a clear case for the business benefits of focusing on user experience (UX) when it comes to developing, and using and implementing research and development (R&D) software.

After exploring the drivers behind the trend towards prioritizing UX in software design, we set out to show that UX and critical functionality are not mutually exclusive and that in fact you can have the best of both worlds.

We believe that we’ve shown that UX-friendly design can facilitate working and collaboration in the externalized, multi-stakeholder lab of the future. By reducing the amount of training needed for in-house and partner R&D specialists, organizations will be able to control costs and support the uptake of new technology.

2. What did you most enjoy about presenting to a live audience?

Scott Weiss: The buzz from presenting live comes from the fact that you really have to articulate your passion in order to stoke the same passion in your audience. I think we both enjoy the immediacy of live presenting and it’s a great opportunity to look at a subject from a new angle thanks to the input from your audience.

3. How did you get into the industry and what do you most enjoy about your role?

Paul Denny-Gouldson: I worked for Sanofi for around five years in France – that was the incentive to start a company to solve some of the problems that I was seeing while running a team of brilliant scientists – we needed to capture what everyone was doing in a way that made it re-usable and reportable. I get a real buzz from solving problems and helping people do more and hopefully one of those people will go on to do something to really impacts people’s lives in a positive way.

Scott Weiss: Both at university and as a post-graduate in pharma, computers and software were an essential part of my daily routine; whether I was writing snippets of code or using commercial software. When I eventually ran a department, I brought in ActivityBase to manage our data and reporting needs. At that point I was hooked, and the rest is history. The best part of being in the product management team is that I get to work with customers and the talented people at IDBS to help deliver clever solutions to common business challenges.

 4. What motivates you?

Paul Denny-Gouldson: Making a difference and my family.

Scott Weiss: I left pharmaceuticals because I felt what I could accomplish at IDBS would have a far bigger impact on the industry than I ever could working within it. Satisfaction comes from delivering successful products that people enjoy using and ‘can’t live without’ in their day-to-day working lives.

 5. What’s the best thing someone has ever taught you?

Paul Denny-Gouldson: Always talk to people to make sure the dialogue keeps flowing.

Scott Weiss: Listen to people. My first impulse is usually to start talking. I had an inspirational boss early in my career who taught me to listen first. Talk second. I usually remember his advice.

You can watch Paul’s and Scott’s webinar ‘Putting User Experience at the Heart of R&D’ on demand here.


Putting UX at the heart of R&D software

Remember when bringing home a new gadget meant sitting down and reading the instructions first? If you don’t then you were born UX. A.D. that is to say after User Experience (UX) came to dominate commercial technology. Today’s technology is increasingly mobile, UX-centric and focused on intuitive use. And these trends in commercial technology are having knock-on effects on the expectations of users in the research and development (R&D) informatics space: Today’s R&D software user expects simplicity, while still being able to manage complex processes and scenarios.

The functionality arms race

Back in the 1990s and 2000s, the prime drivers of R&D software developers were adding and improving on features and functions. As R&D processes became ever more complex and software providers raced to match functionality, usability and aesthetics suffered.

Today’s R&D is even more challenging, as collaborative and service-oriented ways of working and externalization have become increasingly common.

Simplify everything

The intuitive, UX-oriented nature of modern commercial technology now means that R&D software users have an expectation of simplicity and ease of use even when using complex, specialized R&D software.

And it turns out that putting UX considerations front and center when implementing R&D software doesn’t just make for happy users – the wider business benefits are also substantial. UX-oriented software can act as an enabler for effective and efficient R&D, without compromising on functionality.

By identifying and adopting software that lives up to UX best practice, organizations can cut costs of ownership through lower maintenance and training expenses, reduce roll-out overheads and boost user uptake. UX-friendly software also facilitates collaboration with external partners by making shared systems user friendly with minimal, or even no, training.

If you’d like to hear more about how UX can support efficiency and efficacy in R&D, why not check out IDBS’ webinar “Putting User Experience at the Heart of R&D‘ hosted by Paul Denny-Gouldson and Scott Weiss. 


Dr. Eliot Randle, MBA, Head of Global Solutions Consulting, IDBS

Eliot Randle
After being awarded a first class honours degree in Biochemistry, Eliot completed a Ph.D. at the University of Manchester. Subsequently he spent over 6 years within the Biotechnology industry, initially with the protein expression group at British Biotech. He then moved to Prolifix where he led the Antifungal Research team prior to his appointment as Head of High Throughput Screening. 

Eliot has spent over 12 years as a consultant the R&D software industry and joined IDBS in 2005 where he has worked extensively with IDBS’ Bioprocess Development and Manufacturing clients. He is currently Head of Global Solutions Consulting and also holds an MBA from Warwick Business School.

1. What were you explaining to the audience within your webinar? 

My aim was to explain how bioprocess operations can be optimized to improve productivity and increase capacity. We’re all being asked to do more with either the same, or less, resources – I discussed several ways to achieve just that. I described how the time skilled scientists spend on labor-intensive data administration can be greatly reduced, giving them more time to innovate and expedite the development of new products. I also highlighted some of the other advantages of process optimization, such as how quality can be improved by engineering common errors out of processes, and how organizations can break down departmental silos to gain greater product and process insight.

2. What’s your opinion on our webinar platform, was it easy to use? 

I found the platform very intuitive and easy to use. The support available and the ability to go through a dry-run before the live event were also much appreciated. Overall, I found the platform to be user friendly, well designed and to work well for live set-ups such as Q&A.

3. How did you get into the industry and what do you most enjoy about your role?

After spending six years as a scientist in the biotech industry, I fancied a move out of the lab into the commercial world. I started thinking about what made the most difference to my daily work and what I could be passionate about when speaking to other scientists and I realized it was software. So I joined a company providing bioinformatics software for scientific users as a consultant. During my time there my interest in enterprise solutions grew and I moved into the data management industry, where I’ve been for 10 years, the majority of which has been with IDBS.

The things I enjoy most about IDBS are working with a great group of very talented people to help solve a wide range of problems for our customers, and the incredible variety that brings to my role.

4.  What has been the best moment in your career?

It’s a tough question as there have been a lot – both as a scientist and as a consultant. Whether it’s been a research breakthrough or helping a customer make a transformational change to their business, the thing they all have in common is that they’ve all been the result of hard work and addressing a variety of challenges, to eventually get a memorable result.

5.  What motivates you?

Being able to make a difference and helping others fulfil their potential.

You can watch Eliot’s webinar ‘Is your biologics development lifecycle being held up by ineffective data management?’ on demand here.


Let scientists concentrate on innovation and continuous improvement, not admin

Biopharmaceutical professionals will be familiar with the scientists’ lament about the amount of time they waste trying to track down data or, worse still, having to re-run experiments because of missing data.

The development of biological therapeutics is multifaceted by nature and increasingly requires collaboration and partnerships throughout the development value chain. Couple this with the ever-growing data volumes generated by increasingly sophisticated process equipment, and dealing with complexity becomes part of the everyday life of a biopharmaceutical professional. Such complexity frequently results in the introduction of costly errors and inefficiencies. Quality suffers, development lifecycles become longer and scientists spend an increasing amount of their time on data admin.

The cost of doing nothing

Most biopharmaceutical organizations lack a standardized, comprehensive approach to data management and quality control; with a heavy reliance on paper-based, manual processes and heterogeneous, unconnected systems. The number of participants in a typical development process is increasing, resulting in information being spread across the organization in data silos such as file stores, binders, notebooks and within people’s heads.

Studies have shown that scientists in biopharmaceutical organizations spend up to five hours per week looking for data to prepare reports. Alarmingly, often the data needed cannot be found, which can lead to experiments and even entire projects having to be re-run. This not only wastes time, but the need to purchase new reagents and materials and the increased load on expensive fixed capital assets can have a significant impact on costs.

The value of insight

By integrating data with workflows, common errors can be engineered out of processes and a ‘right first time’ approach can be realized. Bioprocessing operations can be optimized and QA overheads can be minimized. A single enterprise data management platform facilitates the flow of data across the development lifecycle and provides organizations with unparalleled insight across their products and processes.

If you’d like to hear more about how IDBS can help your scientists get back to focusing on science by optimizing your biologics development processes, then join me on October 29 for my webinar exploring this topic.

Dr Eliot Randle MBA, Head of Global Solutions Consulting, IDBS

Externalization – a Collaborative Future for Life Sciences R&D

Nowadays, trying to cover the entire research and development (R&D) life cycle in-house makes little economic sense. Externalization is viewed as an effective way of dealing with the twin challenges of managing the immense amount of data generated by modern drug discovery techniques as well as having to find ways to mitigate costs.

Externalizing discovery screening processes has brought a raft of new players to the scene and is challenging old relationship patterns in R&D. We’ve witnessed a boom in the externalization of discovery research upstream of the preclinical and clinical areas, bringing pharmaceutical companies, CROs (Contract Research Organizations), other sector specialists and academia into closer and closer contact.

As these organizations look to collaborate, challenges abound on the road to making sure that externalization results in a win-win scenario for all stakeholders. Efficiency and trust underpin the success of collaboration. The reputational and IP risks inherent to sharing information mean that transparent and reliable infrastructure solutions are key to achieving a positive outcome.

On a more practical level, the data generated by different stakeholders needs to be easily shareable, easy to incorporate back into in-house-systems and its integrity and transparency must ensure it produces fully reproducible results. And if externalization isn’t properly executed, its benefits can be negated by extended decision cycle times. Again, choosing the right infrastructure solution represents the difference between success and failure.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can benefit from the advantages of externalized, collaborative ways of working while mitigating the downsides, join me and Justin Gazard of Pfizer Inc. for our webinar, ‘Externalize costs without breaking the data value chain’ on September 17, 2014.

Andy Vines, Product Manager, Screening Solutions, IDBS

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Andy Vines, Product Manager, Screening Solutions, IDBS

With an academic background in pharmacology and biochemistry, Andy VinesAndy Vines is currently the Product Manager responsible for IDBS’ screening solutions, including the ActivityBase Suite, ActivityMart and XLfit.

Before joining IDBS in 2008, Andy had already gained extensive user experience of ActivityBase, having used it in his previous R&D-centric roles at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). During an industry career spanning 20 years, Andy was instrumental in driving forward a number of research programs in oncology and cardiovascular therapeutic areas, primarily in research biology and screening functions covering target ID, hit ID, lead optimization and candidate selection.

His industry expertise and experience of discovery screening place him in an excellent position to advise R&D specialists on how IDBS can help them overcome the many challenges facing a fast-evolving scientific domain.

Andy will present IDBS’ webinar ‘Externalize costs without breaking the data value chain‘ on the 17th September at 10am New York/3pm London. You can register now to reserve your place.

1. What will the audience learn from attending the webinar?

Most R&D stakeholders are aware of the benefits of externalizing parts of the discovery screening process. What we aim to explore in this webinar is how to approach externalization successfully so that all stakeholders from big pharma to biotechs to academia and specialist service providers can benefit from this trend and also make it work in practice. We’ll be looking at different approaches to externalization, getting the infrastructure right and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

2. How did you get into the industry and what do you most enjoy about your role?

My early years in Africa exposed me to lots of interesting flora and fauna, and developed my passion for life sciences. I joined GSK (then Glaxo) during a period of rapid expansion and found myself in the lab doing oncology research at a time when Information Technology (IT) was starting to take hold. I quickly recognized the potential for informatics to revolutionize research workflows and became an enthusiastic early adopter. By the mid-90s, we’d evolved to using ActivityBase and I became a major driver of its adoption.

When the opportunity arose, it seemed only natural to make the move to IDBS. It was a chance to bring my experience of IT and research to a wider audience and make the most of the data generated in research and development (R&D) processes. I really enjoy what I do at IDBS. The variety of my role and the evolving challenges faced by scientists dealing with increasing volumes of data keep me motivated to continue to turn challenges into opportunities.

3. What has been the best moment in your career?

It’s hard to pick just one! I would say that one of the achievements I’m most proud of was transforming the way discovery screening was carried out at GSK. By embracing the possibilities opened up by ActivityBase technology, we were able to completely transform and automate processes, workflows and decision-making.

4. Who or what is your inspiration?

I’m inspired (and humbled) every time I look up at the night sky. Each star represents infinite possibility and it keeps me striving to achieve more.

5. What 1 item would you take with you to a desert island?

It may be a bit cheeky but I’d have to say a cruise ship! I prefer my desert islands to come without the downside of being marooned.

Remember to register for Andy’s upcoming webinar where you can ask him questions live on the webinar.