Microsoft launches Amalga for R&D and trial data management

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

US software giant Microsoft has unveiled its new Amalga Life Sciences data aggregation and modelling platform in a bid to capitalise on the demand for IT infrastructure solutions currently sweeping the drug R&D and trials sectors.

The Amalga system uses so-called “hybrid store” architecture to store both simple data, like laboratory research protocols, and more complicated information sets such as those generated during clinical trials.

The platform is based on one originally developed by US software firm Azzyxi, which was bought by Microsoft in 2006. While early versions were designed to bring disparate types of data together in a hospital setting, Amalga LS has been specifically extended to cover drug R&D and trials.

Jim Karkanias, senior director of research and technology at Microsoft’s health solutions group, who showcased the new system at the Bio-IT World event in Boston, US yesterday, explained the rationale behind its development.

Karkanias told that: "Microsoft recognized the challenge researchers face in collecting, analyzing and making meaningful connections among a multitude of disparate data across the healthcare ecosystem.

"To address these challenges, Microsoft developed a new software platform that is capable of quickly aggregating, connecting and sorting raw healthcare and life science research data, and turning it into the knowledge needed for the discovery of new personalized treatments​."

Karkanias added that: "Amalga Life Sciences is built for doctors, lab technicians, researchers and scientists within research institutions and centers. In fact some of our early adopters include the David H. Murdock Research Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center​."

Not competition for EDC?

News of software giant Microsoft’s interest in clinical data management may set alarm bells ringing among electronic data capture (EDC) firm’s like OmniComm, DataSci and XClinical.

But, according to comments reported by the Bio-IT World​ website such firms should not be alarmed. Microsoft said that: “We’re not going to build an EDC system​” and added that other vendors will be able to develop “plugins​” for the system.

Whether such safeguards will placate potential competitors remains to be seen, particularly because some of the data modelling aspects of Amalga appear to encroach somewhat on services offered by the EDC sector.

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