Every facet of healthcare and medicine now generates and has access to enormous amounts of data from across sources, organizations, and the world. The pharmaceutical industry plays a key role in driving informatics for translational research and precision medicine. The 11th Annual Integrated Pharma Informatics program will discuss the challenges related to integrating, analyzing, and interpreting data from clinical trials, sequencing, electronic health records, and wearables. We will discuss informatics strategy for entire organizations from business goals to infrastructure and storage projects. Special attention will be paid to artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and how companies are integrating these tools into their informatics infrastructure. We will take a close look at how informatics is driving translational and clinical research projects with a focus on data standardization and integration. Join informatics experts from pharma, biotech, and biomedical research communities to discuss these challenges and real-world examples of informatics projects driving precision medicine.

Final Agenda

Monday, March 11

10:30 am Conference Program Registration Open (South Lobby)


11:50 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Tom Plasterer, Director, Semantic Technologies, Science & Enabling Units IT, AstraZeneca

12:00 pm Driving Understanding of Diabetes and Its Complications to Deliver Innovations to Patients: Lessons and Insights for the Pharma Industry

Fischer_RainerRainer Fischer, PhD, CEO and Chief Scientific and Innovation Officer, Indiana Biosciences Research Institute

The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) is an applied research institute bridging academic ideas and institutions to drive innovation to patients. The IBRI’s core mission to understand and combat the growing worldwide trends in diabetes and its complications due to underlying biology, poor nutrition, and other associated societal factors. This talk will present some of the IBRI’s early successes in accessing and transforming electronic health records to enable discovery research including understanding of disease progression, medication pathways, patient stratification, and predictive models. Additional early efforts in the areas of diabetes research, biological research and development, and nutritional factors will be presented to show both the complementarity of the IBRI’s unique and expanding institute model as well as provide a look at the vision for future impact.

12:30 FAIR Data Knowledge Graphs

Plasterer_TomTom Plasterer, Director, Semantic Technologies, Science & Enabling Units IT, AstraZeneca

FAIR data has flown up the hype curve without a clear sense of return from the required data stewardship investment. The killer use case for FAIR data is a science knowledge graph. It enables you to richly address novel questions of your and the world’s data. We started with data catalogues (findability) which exploited linked/referenced data using a few focused vocabularies (interoperability), for credentialed users (accessibility), with provenance and attribution (reusability) to make this happen.


1:00 Session Break

Dotmatics_red_background 1:10 Luncheon Presentation: Solving Challenges in Drug Discovery with Integrated Informatics

LeBeau_AndrewAndrew LeBeau, PhD, Senior Manager, Biologics Marketing, Dotmatics, Inc.

Drug discovery research requires informatics systems that support both the diverse range of therapeutic types – from small molecules to a diversity of biologics – as well as traditional competencies such as registration, screening, inventory management, etc. Platform approaches represent the preferred architecture to support fully integrated informatics systems, including co-existing within a mixed vendor environment and integrating with legacy in-house software applications. A properly implemented open platform facilitates faster and better-informed decision-making, ultimately leading to better outcomes. This talk will highlight key requirements of a platform-based approach to integrated drug discovery systems.

2:10 Session Break


2:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Albert Wang, Head, IT Business Partner, Translational Research & Technologies, R&D IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb

2:40 Building a Digital Health Data Infrastructure

Wang_AlbertAlbert Wang, Head, IT Business Partner, Translational Research & Technologies, R&D IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb

BMS is currently executing a broad Digital Health strategy, supporting our Research, Development, and Commercial functions. This talk will describe a vision for a unified patient-centric data platform, including clinical trial data, translational research data, and real-world evidence.

3:10 Data Democratization: Developing Self-Service Data Exploration and Analysis Platforms to Enable Faster, High-Quality Scientific Discovery

Caulder_DanaDana Caulder, Director, Software Engineering, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Genentech

It is essential that bench scientists have direct access to data and sophisticated, relevant analysis methods so that they can self-explore and generate scientific hypotheses. Computational scientists should not be a bottleneck in this process. I will present our approach and progress in developing a variety of self-service tools, ranging from in vivo data analysis to genomics and genetics data exploration and analysis.

3:40 NEW: New Solutions for Research Informatics

Parrott_TimTim Parrott, Application Scientist, ChemAxon

Building on 20+ years of providing software for chemistry informatics, ChemAxon is creating new solutions for capturing, searching, analyzing and sharing scientific data. Recent developments will be highlighted in this overview of our portfolio.

Astrix 4:10 NEW: Addressing Data Management Challenges in Genomics Research

Curtis_DaleDale Curtis, President, Astrix Technology Group

Biotechnology firms engaged in genomics research are experiencing significant challenges in managing increasing data volume, variety and complexity. In this talk, we will discuss best practices in building the laboratory informatics infrastructure to effectively address these challenges. 


4:40 Refreshment Break and Transition to Plenary Session

8:00 Plenary Keynote Session (Room Location: 3 & 7) 

6:00 Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

7:30 Close of Day

Tuesday, March 12

7:30 am Registration Open and Morning Coffee (South Lobby)

8:00 Plenary Keynote Session   (Room Location: 3 & 7)

9:15 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:15 Chairperson’s Remarks

Ryan Copping, Global Head of Analytics, Personalized Healthcare Data Science, Genentech

10:25 Advancing the use of Real World Data to support R&D and Personalized Healthcare 

Copping_RyanRyan Copping, Global Head of Analytics, Personalized Healthcare Data Science, Genentech

Generating insights from Real World Data (RWD) is a critical success factor for personalized healthcare.  This presentation will look at some of the advancements being made in terms of data (access/growth/quality/linkages etc), analytics and technology and will share some specific examples from Roche/Genenetch's R&D efforts as well some of the challenges and opportunities for the future. 

10:55 A Retrospective Look into Diagnostic Support Tools 

Bray_MargaretMargaret Bray, PhD, Senior Data Scientist, Alexion

As tools to assist doctors in making rare disease diagnoses become more common, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement that occurs when one’s system is successful. However, a deep investigation into the reasons for missed diagnoses can often provide an interesting opportunity for retrospection. Conclusions obtained from this retrospective analysis can then provide new insights and direction for future work.

11:25 Smarter Medical Research & Learning Health Systems through Oncology Real World Data

Becnel_LaurenLauren Becnel, PhD, Head, Global Real World Evidence - Oncology, Global Real World Evidence, Pfizer

New strategies are needed to reduce the time it takes to translate new medical research discoveries to clinic, while ensuring that they are safe and measurably improve care. To have a true learning health systems, we must better integrate clinical research and healthcare. This talk will provide examples this translation is beginning to occur for oncology to ultimately lead to delivering the right medicines at the right time to the right patients.

11:55 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:35 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


2:05 Chairperson’s Remarks

Lauren Becnel, Senior Director, Real World Data, Analytics & Data Strategy, Pfizer

2:10 Treatments for Health Conditions with High Patient Heterogeneity: Can Real World Data Make Our Drug Development Programs Smarter?

Spain_VicVic Spain, DVM, PhD, Senior Data Scientist, Personalized Healthcare Data Science, Genentech

In drug development programs for diseases with large heterogeneous patient populations, only about 1 in 10 molecules in phase I make it to market approval.  This presentation will review the role of real world data in providing a clearer understanding of patients with unmet treatment need and ensuring trial programs are adapted for those patients most likely to benefit from targeted new therapies.

2:40 Developing Digital Endpoints: Case Studies on Data Collection, Value Extraction and Validation

Clay_IeuanIeuan Clay, PhD, Group Lead, Digital Endpoints, Translational Medicine, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research

The digital endpoint field is rapidly evolving and maturing, with evermore examples emerging of how technology and analytics are helping us understand patient lives. We present several case studies and lessons learned on how we are approaching data ingestion, algorithm development and validation in order to capture novel, QoL relevant insights on a population and patient level.

DNAnexus 3:10 Illuminating the Path Towards Precision Medicine with Apollo and UK Biobank

Talevich_EricEric Talevich, PhD, Senior Scientist, DNAnexus

DNAnexus Apollo enables interactive and visual analysis of heterogeneous, population-scale datasets within a secure network. We present applications using the UK Biobank to understand contributions of genetic predisposition to the development of disease, and generalize to clinical and observational studies.

3:40 PANEL DISCUSSION: Hurdles in Real-World Data: Where Do We Go from Here?

Session Speakers

This panel will discuss the current and future challenges in real-world data, from EHRs to digital biomarkers. How is data curated, integrated, and analyzed? What barriers do we face in standardization? What’s next for using this data in R&D?

4:10 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

5:00 Breakout Discussions in the Exhibit Hall

6:00 Close of Day

Wednesday, March 13

7:30 am Registration Open and Morning Coffee (South Lobby)

8:00 Plenary Keynote Session   (Room Location: 3 & 7)

10:00 Refreshment Break and Poster Competition Winner Announced in the Exhibit Hall




10:50 Chairperson’s Remarks

Tom Defay, Senior Director, R&D Strategy and Alliances, SPMD, Strategy, Program Management and Data Sciences, Alexion


11:00 Machine Learning and Statistical Approaches for Reverse Translation

Sandor SzalmaSandor Szalma, PhD, Global Head, Computational Biology, Takeda Pharmaceuticals


We have recently implemented a global computational biology team and have been expanding the capabilities to enable reverse translation across the diseases of our interest. In this presentation, I will discuss our computational infrastructural approach and a couple of initial computational experiments to explore real-world data and machine learning methodologies to better understand patient journeys in support of the research and development organization.

11:40 Diagnosing Rare Disease Patients: Progress in Fully Automated Diagnosis

Tom DefayTom Defay, Senior Director, R&D Strategy and Alliances, SPMD, Strategy, Program Management and Data Sciences, Alexion


Diagnosing patients with rare disease is challenging. Whole exome and whole genome sequencing have improved our diagnostic abilities, but in many cases many potentially disease-causing genes have potentially pathogenic mutations associated with them. By combining phenotypic information automatically extracted from the patient’s EMR with a patient’s genome sequence, we have developed a system for proposing possible diagnoses. The effectiveness and potential utility of this approach will be discussed. 

12:30 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:10 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall and Last Chance for Poster Viewing


1:50 Chairperson’s Remarks

Michael Feolo, Staff Scientist, dbGaP Team Lead, National Center for Biotechnology Information, NIH

2:00 FEATURED PRESENTATION: "Data Wars" What R&D Organizations Need to Do In Order to Survive The Near Future

John F. Conway, Global Head of R&D&C IT, Science and Enabling Units IT, AstraZeneca

R&D organizations, from startup to mature need to quickly transform a culture around Data, Information, and Knowledge as an Asset and Emulate a Data company.  R&D organizations need improved stringency from data capture to contextualization to reuse.  The FAIR principles are criteria to measure success in the journey but it starts with a written scientific data strategy that outlines the what, the who and the how from a change management and cadence perspective.  Simply put we have to stop treating our data like trash but instead as another form of currency that has immense value.

2:30 Building an Enterprise Data Lake that is FAIR

Irene Pak, Lead R&D Data Architect, Bristol-Myers Squibb

As with many companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb has embarked on its journey to implement an enterprise data lake as one of the means to reach data nirvana, a state where human and machine can effectively mine our disparate digital data assets and turn them into business insights that will ultimately help our patients.  The FAIR data principles play an important role in our undertaking by providing a framework to make our data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.  In this presentation, I will share some of our learnings in the pursuit of FAIRness for our complex data ecosystem.

3:00 How the pRED Data Commons Facilitates Integration of –omics Data

Kuentzer_JanJan Kuentzer, Principal Scientist, Data Science, Data Science pRED Informatics, Roche Innovation Center Munich, Roche Diagnostics GmbH

Omics data increasingly influences clinical decision-making. Well-designed and highly integrated informatics platforms become essential for supporting structured data capturing, integration and analytics to enable effective drug development. This talk presents principles and key learnings in designing such a platform and contrasts our current approach to previous approaches in biomedical informatics. Finally, I will provide insights into the implementation of such a platform at Roche.

3:30 Session Break


3:40 Chairperson’s Remarks

Funda Meric-Bernstam, MD, Chair, Executive, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, MD Anderson Cancer Center

3:45 Precision Oncology Decision Support

Meric-Bernstam_FundaFunda Meric-Bernstam, MD, Chair, Executive, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Molecular profiling is increasingly utilized in the management of cancer patients. Decision support for precision oncology includes guidance of optimal testing, interpretation of test results including interpretation of functional impact of genomic alterations and therapeutic implications. We will review strategies for decision support and resources for identifying optimal approved or investigational therapies.

4:15 High-Performance Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE) and BioCompute Objects for Regulatory Sciences

Mazumder_RajaRaja Mazumder, PhD, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine Georgetown Washington University

Advances in sequencing technologies combined with extensive systems level -omics analysis have contributed to a wealth of data which requires sophisticated bioinformatic analysis pipelines. Accurate communication describing these pipelines is critical for knowledge and information transfer. In my talk, I will provide an overview of how we have been engaging with the scientific community to develop BioCompute specifications to build a framework to standardize bioinformatics computations and analyses communication with US FDA. I will also describe how BioCompute Objects (https://osf.io/h59uh/) can be created using the High-performance Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE) and other bioinformatics platforms.

4:45 Integrating Genomic and Immunologic Data to Accelerate Translational Discovery at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Wells_DannyDanny Wells, PhD, Scientist, Informatics, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is rapidly changing how we treat both solid and hematologic malignancies, and combinations of these therapies are quickly becoming the norm. For any given treatment strategy, only a subset of patients will respond, and an emerging challenge is how to effectively identify the right treatment strategy for each patient. This challenge is compounded by a concomitant explosion in the amount of data collected from each patient, from high dimensional single cell measurements to whole exome tumor sequencing. In this talk, I will discuss translational research at the Parker Institute, and how we are integrating multiple molecular and clinical data types to characterize the tumor-immune phenotype of each patient.

5:15 Close of Conference Program