Boehringer Ingelheim expands use of Big Data tech for pharma research

Boehringer Ingelheim has become one of the latest large drugmakers to deepen its commitment to mining massive datasets in its R&D operations. In a plug for the software group's Big Data technology, NextBio touted that Boehringer had renewed its agreement to use its research platform in an expanded capacity.

Santa Clara, CA-based NextBio has been providing the Germany-based pharma company with its NextBio Research for the past year. And Boehringer now has a pact with NextBio to use the software across its global R&D organization for multiple years. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, as is customary in announcements about software licensing deals.

NextBio has picked up a series of deals from pharma giants as industry players invest in methods to extract valuable knowledge from the growing sea of research data from academic journals, international scientific explorations in genomics and clinical trials. In April the company revealed that Sanofi ($SNY) had secured its NextBio Clinical software for translational research in such fields as cancer and diabetes.

"NextBio Research provides a comprehensive platform for exploratory, preclinical and early translational research in drug discovery and biotechnology research," NextBio CEO Saeid Akhtari stated. "Integrating proprietary analysis results with extensive curated content, NextBio enhances researchers' ability to design experiments, test hypotheses and validate results, leading to better target analysis, understanding of disease mechanisms, and analysis of results across species."

Boehringer has joined the ranks of NextBio's most prominent biopharma customers, which include GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Merck ($MRK), Novartis ($NVS), Pfizer ($PFE), Regeneron ($REGN) and others. In the top 20 drugmakers, Boehringer sticks out in part because it's family owned. The pharma outfit also allocated 22.5% of its €14.7 billion ($18.8) in net sales last year for R&D expenses, making it one of the world's top research spenders in pharma.

- here's the release