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3,2,1…Cool Vendors in Life Science

by Michael Shanler  |  May 5, 2014  |  2 Comments

3, 2, 1…..For a handful of vendors each year, being written about in the Cool Vendor report is akin to a getting an early IT spot light with HD cameras while on a launch pad or first mission.  We feel these companies are worth watching on their first flights.  Note: While there are many success stories involving cool companies rising to success, there are always those vendors that don’t counter the laws of gravity with adequate thrust….    (Hence the disclaimer:  many early and unproven rockets have exploded on the launch pad in spectacular fashion…)

At any rate, I’m hopeful we can observe a few of these spend a nice, long, fault-free time in orbit:

  • I picked Scigilian for their cloud-based R&D laboratory logistics and management capabilities.  The reason?  As  R&D groups begin to globalize laboratory operations, IT leaders are finding that there are few good options for laboratory logistics.   First, let us look at the other options:  Spreadsheets?  Ha! Spreadsheets are the cockroaches of IT.   ERP?  Nope…ERP is not flexible enough for the R&D laboratory.  Laboratory Informatics (e.g. LIMS/ELN)?  Hmm…promising…but they are not quite ready with their reinvention act, yet (….but they might be soon.)  Scigilian should be a front runner in the global R&D logistics game if they can leverage their platform and domain skills.  This will be an exciting vendor to watch, especially if you are an R&D lab geek like me.  Albeit, the Scigilian satellite is small, they already had a successful midnight launch. They are just beginning to orbit. Let’s see if they can stay up there and avoid the space junk. Our cameras will be trained on on both them and the other objects.
  • I penciled in Ontoforce right after seeing my first demo.  I’m glad they made the cut.  They have the “right stuff” with their advanced semantic scientific search engine capabilities.  You see, life science R&D is rapidly becoming a big fat digital data challenge.  There are loads of data buried within and beyond the firewall ..and the data is EXTREMELY complex – 1960’s “Moonshot” complex. Granted, there are some heavy hitters in this segment (and a few other good tools), but for the most part..those other solutions have been poorly adapted for the pharma environment.  Pharma R&D cannot win by relying on those other systems at the center of the scientific galaxy.  The Ontoforce folks truly understand the scientific business challenges associated with discovery.  So… the Ontoforce stage 1 booster rocket has separated….Now, let’s see if the 2nd stage properly ignites, propelling them to new heights…..
  • My final candidate that made the cut is Blueprint Clinical.  Clinical development represent a giant chunk of spend for pharma..and we all know that pharma R&D IRR is way down.  A lot of this has to do with the high costs, slow speeds, and variable effectiveness of  clinical trials.  Blueprint has some pretty savvy tools for predicting the risk of a clinical trial site.  There are other risk-based companies and site-selection vendors that have similar tools for the space, but the Blueprint tools is way easier to use and comes with some pre-configured risk items.  Cool stuff. This company reminds me a bit of the tattooed operator with crazy hair at Mission Control that constantly evaluates all the risks to systems and the flight path.

There are two more vendors on the list selected by other analysts:   Liquid Grids, selected by Don Scheibenreif for in-bound marketing and analytics.  Pitcher, was selected by Dale Hagemeyer for closed loop marketing. Also, cool stuff, but, I don’t blog about the marketing domains.

So, what do all these vendors have in common?  Well, they have a nice, tight vision.  The tools are easy-to-use tools. They have a slick interface.  They fulfill some serious unmet needs.  We tracked a lot of other vendors in the 2014 race, but we feel these five deserve a spotlight during their maiden flights.  Entitled clients can view the document, here.

Category: big-data  clinical-development  engineering  innovation  manufacturing  pharmaceutical  product-development  rd  science  

Michael Shanler
Research VP
5 years at Gartner

Michael Shanler covers life science R&D technologies. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on 3,2,1…Cool Vendors in Life Science




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