December 2, 2011: AstraZeneca, the UK based pharmaceutical major has entered into a contract with Cognizant to provide statistical analysis of the clinical trial data.
Back in 2004 AstraZeneca had outsourced IT and business processes to cognizant. Later in 2008 the contract was extended to include application maintenance and centralized data management services.
According to the new deal, cognizant will offer services that spans over the entire activity of clinical data reporting. It ranges from case report forms to clinical study reports. The contract involves centralized statistical programming, statistical analysis, medical writing, and document publishing services.
In May 2010, AstraZeneca had declared the closure of its R&D facility near Loughborough, which resulted in cutting down of 1200 jobs.
Over the years the pharmaceuticals industry had relied on few blockbuster drugs to create most of the revenues. But like any other Pharma firm, AstraZeneca is also facing a major challenge. Many of their drugs are on the way out from the market due to expiry of patents. Hence they are under pressure to come up with replacements.
The pharmaceutical industry is finding it hard to make meaning out of the large quantity of the data it gathers. The Chief Financial officer of Roche has said that the quantity of the data with the company is doubling every 15 months, in a conference held last year. He added that the company is not enhancing the know-how every 15 months and that they are worried with the data as a large part of it is spam. As of now they have no means to filter this large quantity of data.
The IT industry has come up with analytics technology solution to encounter the problem. This solution is often known as the big data or highly scalable solution, but it is often viewed that such a simple solution won’t be way out of such a complex problem.
AstraZeneca had tried to make decision based on data. They had used the data they have collected to look for various possible products. They believed that by evaluating the data and plotting it in a graph would help them to arrive at a decision on the products. But what happened was that they could not differentiate between the various products at the end.
The contract with Cognizant is expected to help AstraZeneca to meaningfully analyze data and come up with suitable products.