Commanders & Chiefs

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PharmaVOICE Staff

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The role of chief technology officer has become more encompassing as companies adopt new software and technology-based solutions to solve some of their biggest challenges and create opportunities for new rewards.

Zaher El-Assi

Decentralizing & Accelerating Trials
Next-generation innovations to decentralize and accelerate trials are most critical to my role, our mission at Lightship, and to the current Covid-19 dilemma the world is facing. Leveraging technology in a patient-centric fashion to reduce the number of visits to a brick and mortar site in a study would be transformational for the industry, for patients, and for the overall human condition. I am leveraging the same playbook I did when launching eClinicalOS (now IBM Clinical Development): “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. The technology has to be simple and elegant, should leverage patients’ existing devices, and provide just the functionality needed and no more. The innovation is not in the tools needed to accomplish the task at hand, but rather in the experience crafted by a seamless, non-disruptive integration of the basic tools. After all, the tools are all readily available — ePRO, eCOA, telemedicine, informed consent, scheduling, etc.

Making Magic Happen
As technologists, our roles need to evolve into human factors engineers: the science of dealing with the application of information on physical and psychological characteristics to the design of devices and systems for human use. Technology is readily available to accomplish just about any one function. Bringing together technologies into one simple, usable, and elegant experience is where the magic happens.

Adrien Lebrun

Trend Tracking
There are four main trends that are impacting the software industry. The first is micro-services architecture. Decoupling applications has improved productivity for autonomous and cross-functional teams. It gives us more flexibility in using different technologies and helps us scale more easily. This is the perfect architecture for a lean and agile organization. Second is a development and operations culture of collaboration across the entire engineering organization. Next, modern deployment technology makes it possible to deliver releases without downtime or interruptions to end customers. Finally, we are continuing to invest in machine learning. This is where our research team is focusing a lot of effort right now. The clinical trials software industry is too conservative and should learn from other successful software companies. Their operating models and cutting-edge technologies can be applied to our industry too, if harnessed in the right areas at the right time.

Building a Talented Tech Team
I am passionate about recruiting, building, and coaching a global, distributed team of talented tech experts. Competition for tech talent is now global and finding the right people is what keeps me up at night.
Finding the appropriate and/or new technology today is easy.
Implementing it is the hard part and you need the right people to successfully execute your ideas. As a chief product and technology officer, it is critical for me to always balance product development with major technology backbone improvements. For me, one does not go without the other. Product and technology have to work hand in hand.

Linking Business and Technology
IT underpins every activity within a company, no matter what sector you are in. As a technology-driven organization, we work hard to ensure everyone is included and understands the challenges of our customers and how our technology plays a part, from the finance teams to legal and everyone in between, building a link between business and technology. Technology can fundamentally transform any businesses. My role is to define and share a clear vision of how technology can help transform our businesses, drive growth, and generate value.

Dr. Phil Morten

Better Analytics
In gene therapy the move to better analytics is crucial to get a real understanding of the stability and efficacy of the viral vectors. For cell therapies, the extension of cell stability and improvement in raw material consistency to reduce product variability is critical. For both, our manufacturing digital processing is rapidly growing to improve product formulations and optimization of manufacturing processes.

Technology Core to Business
Technology is a core to our business, including development of our products and their applications and within manufacturing. Digital processing is expanding and could have a major impact on mathematical optimization of processes and product applications. I am an experimentalist by heart, so I like to see the proof and will always work with customers to ensure our solutions work in their application.(PV)


The Commanders & Chiefs

Zaher El-Assi
Founding Executive and Chief Technology Officer, Lightship
Lightship provides enterprise level, direct-to-patient clinical trial solutions. By engaging patients at home — from recruitment through completion — the hurdles and inefficiencies of traditional approaches can be eliminated.

Adrien Lebrun
Chief Product & Technology Officer, CluePoints
CluePoints offers sponsors and CROs a way of identifying, visualizing, managing, and documenting trial risks that could compromise patient safety and delay the approval of investigational products.

Phil Morten, Ph.D.
Chief Technology Officer, Albumedix
Albumedix is a science-driven, biotechnology company focused on enabling the creation of superior biopharmaceuticals using albumin-based drug enhancing technologies.


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