Autor: Anastassiya Zidkova, Scientific Information Content Specialist
It was not long ago that MSD, an established pharmaceutical company, opened its MSD IT Global Innovation Centre in Prague. The centre keeps its “start-up culture”due to its inception as a greenfield project. This start-up within a corporation aims to bring professionals from various fields closer together. Here in Prague, IT specialists, biologists, chemists,data scientists and UX designers work together on innovative projects. The MSD IT Global Innovation Centre reaches customers across all MSD divisions including sales, manufacturing and research.
An important part of MSD research laboratories is the Pharmacogenomics division. Recent advances in genetics and biochemistry are enabling the possibility of personalised treatment for individual patients. Pharmacogenomics links the patient’s genetic information to their response to a drug. Such research can lead to individual dosage for each patient. That way, the patient can get the maximum drug benefit with minimal risk of toxicity. In this field, lots of data are becoming available and require advanced information technology for processing and analysis.
To foster innovation, MSD IT Global Innovation Centre regularly holds an event called Prague Innovation Days during which self-organized teams gather around innovative ideas. They have thirty hours to bring together a prototype of their proposed solution. One of the projects presented during the last Innovation Days held in June was focused on bringing internal tools for pharmacogenomics up to par with the public ones. The multidisciplinary team of Prague innovators included specialists on user experience, big data processing, genetics and linked data. Together, they were able to clean and process data that were new to part of the team. The result was an interactive visualisation with multiple layers of detail over the genome region, similar to Google Maps. The team sees this project as an excellent opportunity to spark collaboration between the IT centre and MSD research laboratories in this field.
Such work bridges the world of IT specialists and life-science researchers. The MSD IT Global Innovation Centre continues to produce solutions which are strongly focused on ease of use while providing scientifically relevant insights and using the latest information technology.