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Piloting productivity

This article appears in the issue May 2002 [Volume 11, Issue 5]

Expertise automation technology has been put to the test by the research and development division of a global pharmaceutical company. Aventis Pharma’s Drug Innovation and Approval group has implemented a pilot project involving KnowledgeMail from Tacit Knowledge Systems, and expects to deploy the solution more widely later this year, according to a recent press release from Tacit.

Like all companies in the pharmaceutical industry, Aventis faces constant pressure to bring innovative new drugs to market as quickly as possible.

"The volume and pace of drug discovery are critical not only for treating diseases but also for growing shareholder value," says Peter Spina, Tacit's National Industry Segment manager for Life Sciences, "and that is why the industry is so focused on improving how it finds and shares expertise."

A study of Aventis' pilot deployment has shown the promise of productivity gains, according to Tacit. The pilot deployment involved 500 scientists, researchers and technology staff at sites in France, Germany and the United States.

One example of successful knowledge sharing gleaned from the pilot project involved a scientist who was trying to develop a macrophage assay by culturing macrophages and using cell sorting. Normally, he would have spent up to two weeks searching through data to find examples of different protocols for culturing, and an additional two weeks to identify appropriate cell sorting technology. Instead, he used the software to find other scientists who were able to provide the information he needed.

"We were able to save weeks of research in just one case study, so we're very pleased with the potential of KnowledgeMail so far," says Steve Sorensen, Knowledge Management Systems, Aventis Pharma Drug Innovation and Approval.

Aventis engaged Plural, a consulting firm, to support the deployment and validate ROI


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