Themes from the 2016 Spotfire User Group Meetings


Data Visualization and Analytics Spanning the Life Sciences Continuum


“If you can establish a common visual language for data, you can radically upgrade the use of that data to drive decision-making and action.”

That quote from Tom Davenport captures the major themes espoused at the 2016 Data Analytics and R&D Informatics User Conferences, hosted this past fall at GSK, Gilead and Roche facilities. 

Customers from discovery research, clinical and even post-marketing and emerging fields shared examples of how visualization and analytics technologies eased the interpretation of results and improved decision-making across the full life sciences spectrum.

Representing a wide-ranging group of scientists and researchers, the presenters described similar challenges:

  • • Complex and varied datasets and sources
  • • Distributed teams
  • • Dependence on IT
  • • Lack of standardization
  • • Urgent need to gain insights from all the data available to them.

They reported that visualization and analytics solutions capable of assimilating data from multiple sources have empowered them to perform complex analyses and create easy-to-use visual dashboards to gain insights from data faster. 

A bioinformatics research team at Gilead Sciences found itself asking complex and variable questions of large and complex datasets – from whole-genome, whole-exome, and RNA sequencing to in-house and public databases. “Scientists need tools to parse the data and then transform it into something useful,” Jeremiah Degenhardt, a research scientist at Gilead, said in his presentation

The research team discovered a combination of tools, featuring a rich visualization and analytics solution, best met its needs for initial and intermediate data processing, data visualization and data delivery.

Gilead also found that standardizing its approach to visualization with TIBCO® Spotfire in active clinical trial data review helped meet different functional needs, provide more comprehensive visualizations, and enable & ease the ability to drill down from summaries to the detailed patient level. Replacing a homegrown visualization solution with TIBCO® Spotfire improved insights for a wide variety of potential users – from clinical researchers and clinical data managers to medical monitors, safety scientists and statisticians.

For emerging fields such as biologics, visualization brings speed and resource-savings to data analytics and workflows. At Bristol-Myers Squibb more than 60 TIBCO® Spotfire projects have been implemented since 2015. In his presentation on leveraging TIBCO® Spotfire for biologics discovery, Dave Nakamura, business capacity manager for Biologics IT at BMS, shared use cases demonstrating the benefits of deploying visualization software

In one instance, TIBCO® Spotfire contributed to the reduction from 2-3 FTEs working for approximately two weeks to 1 FTE spending an hour to produce similar results. In another, researchers spent only three hours, vs more than 43 hours, to develop a UI prototype for the bioinformatics team.

Applying visualization to outcomes data is helping achieve new insights from real-world evidence (RWE). RWE is intensifying across the drug product lifecycle, with increasing reliance on more data points post-launch. This includes:

  • • Post-marketing commitments
  • • Utilization and prescribing patterns
  • • Adherence
  • • Long-term clinical outcomes
  • • Comparative effectiveness
  • • Differentiation in sub-populations
  • • Usage differences
  • • Effects of switching

In his presentation, Dr. Jamie Powers, director of RWE and Data Science at PerkinElmer, described opportunities to maximize investment in visualization for RWE, health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) and epidemiology. 

Across the broad life sciences spectrum, visualization and analytics tools like TIBCO® Spotfire are providing real value, more quickly, for researchers working in discovery, on clinical trials, or outcomes research. We are seeing that visual data exploration and analysis can be simplified, even for complex R&D questions. It helps to produce reliable scientific conclusions and provide a holistic view of research for clinical trials.

Check out the presentations from our 2016 Data Analytics and R&D Informatics User Conferences to see how you can leverage a TIBCO® Spotfire deployment - no matter the stage or phase of research. Better yet, be sure to attend a conference next year to network with - and learn directly from - other users, or share your use case and experiences.


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