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International Clinical Trials

Community Care

ICT: Tell us a bit about Exostar and your position.

Richard Addi: Exostar empowers its customers to bring their products and services to market by creating cloudbased communities and applications where businesses and their partners can collaborate securely and productively through our connect-once Identity Hubs. We enforce the rules and privileges assigned by asset owners by verifying identities and controlling access, while providing a single sign-on user experience.

What are the most demanding information access requirements facing the life sciences industry?

The drug R&D process is changing to a collaborative model that increasingly relies on interactions between life sciences companies and external partners. Managing communities of partners requires seamless, immediate access to applications and information to optimise effi ciency. At the same time, intellectual property and sensitive data must be protected at all times, even as the breadth and depth of a community expands.

The open nature of the cloud prompted early concerns in the pharma industry – how much has this changed?

As cloud technology has matured and adoption has risen, concerns about the cloud have waned, but still exist. Public clouds, which are the most open, draw the most scrutiny. Private clouds are more secure, but stifle collaboration across enterprise boundaries. Hybrid ‘community’ clouds offer the best of both worlds – open enough for collaboration with partners, but closed enough to be secure.

The hybrid option allows companies to establish a community where the identities of all participants are clearly recognised, and the policies for information access and sharing are well defined by the participants and steadfastly enforced.

How successful at information sharing is life sciences compared to other industries you work with?

Life sciences and pharma companies are a bit behind other industries, but gaining ground fast as they transform their business model. We are leveraging our experience working with aerospace and defense firms to help accelerate the pace.

To date, there has been significant investment in the creation of portals and custom user interfaces to encourage collaboration and information sharing. But the focus is now shifting to the security side of the equation, with the implementation of more robust identity management solutions.

What are the specific benefits to clinical trials of cloud-based communities such as yours?

Successful clinical trials require identifying the right partners and building an environment that promotes easy, secure information exchange. Partners must be vetted to ensure they meet qualification standards, and their performance must be tracked to ensure they comply with governance rules and regulations.

We eliminate point-to-point connections between organisations, obtain and make available partner business data to members of the community, and work with members to define and enforce the rules of engagement. As a result, companies spend less on infrastructure and engage more quickly with the ideal resources to conduct a clinical trial.

You work in a fast-moving tech area – what do the next few years offer?

We see at least three significant trends for the next few years. Cloud, mobile, and social advances will propel even greater demand for collaboration – any time, any place. Big data technology will continue to evolve, but how information is collected and shared must be harnessed. Intrusions, breaches, and advanced persistent threats on systems, applications and information will become more numerous and sophisticated. All three trends point to the need for more robust, cloudbased identity and access management solutions that allow organisations and individuals in life sciences and other industries to collaborate with confidence across the community. And that is precisely where we will continue to invest.

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Richard Addi is President and Chief Executive Officer of Exostar. He previously held leadership positions at Rolls-Royce North America, Data Systems Solutions and Atlantic Research Corporation. Richard’s strategic management experience spans the life sciences, aerospace, defense and energy industries.
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