Pistoia Alliance announces data management toolkit

Roche, AstraZeneca and Bayer supports FAIR Implementation project to improve data management and better AI and machine learning for the "Lab of the Future"

The Pistoia Alliance has announced the launch of its FAIR Implementation project, backed by pharmaceutical companies including Roche, AstraZeneca and Bayer.

The first project milestone by the end of 2019 will be the release of a freely accessible toolkit to help companies implement the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) guiding principles for data management and stewardship.

As the life sciences industry continues to transform digitally, the sector needs clear and practical guidance on how data and relevant metadata is captured and managed to foster greater collaboration and more effective partnerships.

The FAIR guiding principles help to meet this need, but many companies are struggling to implement the guidelines. This need will be addressed by the FAIR toolkit, which will consist of selected tools, best practices, training materials, use cases and methodology for change management, which will be assembled together on a user-friendly and freely accessible website.

“Roche’s overarching strategy is to become a data driven organisation, so we are very excited to help shape and lead on this project. We believe the FAIR guiding principles are vital in helping the entire life science ecosystem benefit from the data the sector is creating. Today, data assets are siloed, stored in varying formats, hard to retrieve and share and are not interoperable – meaning the knowledge we have already learned can’t be utilised by and extended to a wider audience,” commented Dr Martin Romacker, Principal Scientist at Roche.

“To follow the FAIR guiding principles is a big task for pharmaceutical companies to undertake, but we know everyone is in the same boat and there is no point undergoing this culture shift alone. The Pistoia Alliance is perfectly positioned to drive this change within the industry, and companies need to act with a sense of urgency to implement FAIR if we are going to realise the value of analytical methods such as deep learning based on high quality data.”

Life science organisations are becoming increasingly aware that data is a corporate asset, while at the same time, the data deluge continues to put scientists under pressure. Data needs to be better managed to build a more collaborative research environment, and made shareable and interoperable, if the industry is to continue making breakthroughs.

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“As a precompetitive consortium, the Pistoia Alliance is the right body to undertake this project to develop a FAIR toolkit for industry use, which is being supported actively by Pistoia member organisations. The FAIR toolkit will be designed to help industry to implement FAIR in a very practical way," commented Ian Harrow, Consultant at The Pistoia Alliance.

"This is because all life science organisations will need to take similar steps on this journey, so all will benefit from collaboration and sharing through this project. This freely accessible FAIR toolkit promises to help the life science industry to harness the explosion of data for much greater productivity in a timely manner,” he added.

“We are thrilled to be working with our peers to drive such a crucial change and help forge the path for industry-wide FAIR implementation,” commented Dr Alexandra Grebe de Barron, IT Business Partner at Bayer.

“The development of the FAIR toolkit is coming at a time when life science companies are reviewing how they store and manage data to meet new requirements and undertake digital transformation projects. By collaborating with colleagues and partners we can help to guide the adoption process and culture change required.”

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