Merck engages Saama Technologies to build ‘clinical data layer’

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(filo/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(filo/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Merck Saama Technologies MSD data analysis Data management machine learning Artificial intelligence

The pharma firm will leverage the ClinTech leader's Life Science Analytics Cloud to bolster development capabilities and accelerate pipeline progress.

Saama Technologies has inked a multi-year agreement with Merck (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) to construct and operate a new clinical data layer. The collaboration reportedly will utilize Saama’s Life Science Analytics Cloud (LSAC) to help strengthen the pharmaceutical company’s clinical development capabilities and speed up pipeline progress.

Vivek Sharma, Saama CEO, told Outsourcing-Pharma, “This is the beginning of a long collaborative partnership between two organizations focused on improving lives. Merck's pipeline has the potential to positively impact millions of patients around the globe and Saama's platform will optimize processes for the clinical teams, thereby accelerating clinical research outcomes for patients​.”

LSAC is a machine learning (ML) enabled clinical data management and cognitive insight platform designed to accelerate clinical research outcomes. According to Saama, LSAC is part of the company’s arsenal of cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI) powered solutions and services intended to deliver powerful data aggregation, monitoring, analytics, and collaboration capabilities.

Matt Studney, vice president of Merck Research Laboratories IT, told OSP, “Bringing together the algorithms from LSAC and training with our extensive historical data, we can more quickly automate a subset of manual tasks in our clinical study workflows that will allow us to lock our data faster and enable our talented workforce to focus their time on higher value work. Additionally, the LSAC platform will provide more flexibility and reduced cycle times to integrate and analyze data from multiple sources and formats, so we can get ahead of the rapid pace of increasing complexity and volumes of clinical data​.”                                                                                                                

According to Suresh Katta, founder and chairman emeritus of Saama, the LSAC platform appeals to pharmaceutical companies like Merck because of its analytical power.

The complex, time-consuming drug development process's oxygen is clinical data​,” Katta told OSP. “Saama's LSAC is a platform with unprecedented power that is enabled by intelligent AI-driven clinical data pipes and analytical applications that cater release oxygen to every type of persona in the continuum of the drug development process to consume the clinical data and take decisive actions toward speeding up the trials​.”

LSAC will enable Merck’s team to optimize and automate processes, accelerate cycle times, and reduce costs in the quest to bring new treatments to patients sooner​,” Katta added.

Merck plans to integrate the LSAC platform into its current clinical development systems, with the goal of increasing the speed and efficiency of ingestion, curation, and transformation of data. The company also reportedly hopes to facilitate processing from multiple internal and external data sources to multiple business platforms and analytics needs.

With the increasing demands of Merck’s growing pipeline, it is crucial that we continue to embrace the latest digital technologies to optimize and expedite our data management, clinical trial operations, and biostatistics capabilities​,” said Eliav Barr (senior vice president, senior vice president, and head of global clinical development for Merck Research Laboratories. “By integrating Saama’s Machine Learning-driven platform across our clinical functions we aim to fuel significant process efficiencies and elevate the user experience for our talented clinical teams​.”

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