A Silo-breaking Solution for Secure Collaboration in a Disaggregated Industry

There are secure collaboration solutions that can automate drug development processes and help achieve ROI — while protecting intellectual property.


26 November 2014

A Silo-breaking Solution for Secure Collaboration in a Disaggregated Industry

Companies are built on the foundation of intellectual property — so protecting IP wherever it lives or travels must be your organization’s top priority. In the highly regulated industry of life sciences, strong security for clinical data is essential to protect patients’ information and ensure organizations remain legally compliant.

Once, life sciences was a highly integrated industry, with research and development being part of a company’s core business. Over the past several years, leading life sciences organizations have begun to develop relationships with third-party providers to handle many of the traditional R&D processes.

This externalized R&D model saves money and speeds up many of the workflows through efficiency gains. But this “disaggregated” model also presents some risks. Information must be shared between different companies and business units — presenting a security risk through data theft or leakage if information is not protected properly.

The New Externalized R&D Model

This R&D model shift really started around 2008 when the financial crisis hit. At the same time, the threat of losing patent exclusivity on money-making blockbuster drugs was looming very large for Big Pharma players. Handling drug research and development activities in-house became nearly unmanageable for most companies.

Now, almost all of the leading pharmaceutical organizations operate in a disaggregated way. They search the biotech and academic worlds for new drugs to develop. After selecting the IP, a pharmaceutical company then partners with technology vendors, sites, contract research organizations (CROs), and many others to develop the drugs.

Keeping Data Safe in a Disaggregated Industry

This increased collaboration presents many data security challenges. Sensitive business information is shared through the entire development process (from the discovery to the approval phase). And due to the nature of the externalized R&D model, parties must often share this information outside of their organizations — meaning that just having a strong firewall isn’t enough to protect IP and content.

In addition to R&D processes, life sciences organizations must securely use IP to collaborate in other ways. They must participate in business development licensing (BD&L) alliances, or perform remote monitoring. For example, pharmaceutical companies use virtual data rooms for BD&L partnerships to gain a competitive advantage. Also, sites use electronic investigator site file (eISF) technology to enable the remote monitoring of their regulatory binders and source documents.

These activities require organizations to securely communicate and share information with multiple parties. Being able to do so quickly and securely is vital to maintaining a competitive edge in the market.

Luckily, there are technology solutions available today that automate some of the drug development processes. These solutions can reduce time to market, and help achieve return on investment (ROI) —while enabling organizations to protect IP and collaborate securely.

Are you curious to learn more about these solutions? Intralinks and FierceMarkets released a free eBook to help you address the security challenges around sharing information in a disaggregated industry.

You can check out the following link to download your eBook today: “Secure File Sharing in a Disaggregated Industry: How Pharma and Trial Sites Can Rethink Communication.” We hope you find the guide useful.



Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell is the director of strategy and product marketing for life sciences at Intralinks. Andrew has many years of experience working in and with the Life Sciences industry, delivering innovative software solutions through his time with Covance, Relsys, Medidata and BioPharm Systems (Oracle Gold implementation partner). With a focus on Software as a Service, he has a strong belief in providing solutions that simplify and improve the user experience and the relevant subject matter expertise to ensure delivery of real benefits and enhanced compliance.