Big Data Brings Insights…and Complexities
I recently read an interesting article at ContractPharma.com on pharma companies leveraging Big Data to improve their contracting strategies. Our collective ability to identify, capture, sort and analyze growing amounts of data has led to a head-spinning array of decision-impacting information at our fingertips. That upside – more data to make better-informed decisions – is also the downside: too much data becomes unmanageable without systematized approaches to data analysis.
Too Much Data?
In the article, author Peter Leddy refers to this as the ‘data impact equilibrium’ – the point at which data grows too “big” for manual assessment and analysis. He goes on to point out that contract pharma service providers are one particularly massive source of data for pharma & biopharmaceutical companies…one that can prove overwhelming – especially at the later clinical stages.
The rise of Big Data gave birth some years ago to the growing field of clinical data analysis, which is now compulsory for pharma companies looking to extract the most accurate findings from the growing body of information available. In combination with tightening regulatory guidelines, it has become virtually impossible to arrive at precise conclusions without analytical software tools.
Big Data and Drug Manufacturing
Big Data helps us develop better medicines. It can also help pharma determine earlier in the development process when a potential candidate is no longer viable – either from a cost, performance or safety perspective. At the same time, however, Big Data runs the risk of fostering indecisiveness, as C-suite execs weigh the much more detailed and nuanced pluses and minuses of a drug or candidate.
Data permeates every aspect of the drug lifecycle – from discovery through marketing. Neuland’s role as a contract pharma manufacturing firm is just one portion of the Big Data crunch facing our drug company clients, and even then it can prove difficult to parse without solid analytical tools in place. From process development, route scouting, scale-up and bulk manufacturing to cost analysis, EHS and regulatory data, even the development & production portion of the drug equation is awash in data that demands assessment. Real-time production data – such as our customers have access to via Neuland’s GuarD system – provides a whole new level of insight…and required monitoring & analysis.
Big Data – Good, Bad…or just Challenging?
So what should we do with Big Data? Analyze it, obviously – with the best tools available. I’ve heard Big Data referred to as a curse, and also as a blessing. I come firmly down on the side of viewing it in a positive light: the more accurate data we have at our disposal, the better our collective industry decision-making. I believe the profusion of data we’re experiencing is best seen as just another technical challenge to be overcome, like many of the other industry challenges we’ve managed to innovate our way past.