FDA inks $112M contract with Engility to boost computing capabilities


The FDA has awarded a computational science and bioinformatics contract worth up to $112 million to Engility ($EGL). The five-year agreement enables the FDA to tap into Engility’s high-performance computing (HPC) experience as it sets out to establish systems capable of handling its growing data analysis requirements.

When the FDA put the contract out to tender last year, it put enhancement of its “ability to manipulate, process, store and transmit relevant scientific data” at the top of its list of goals for the project. The FDA also wanted to enable its scientists to collaborate securely with their peers worldwide, and to make data available to internal and external partners.

The list reflects the challenges and opportunities the FDA foresees facing in the coming years. Genomic sequencing and other data-heavy fields are expected to result in larger regulatory filings to the FDA. Storing and transmitting the data will present a challenge to the regulator's systems. Equally, with the FDA looking to work with its international peers while protecting data, secure collaborations tools will be key.

Engility bought itself a place at the front of the race to win the contract in 2014 when it wrapped up the $120 million takeover of Dynamics Research Corporation. DRC had itself cut to the front of the queue in 2011 when it bought High Performance Computing, the company FDA awarded the contract to the last time it went up for tender in 2012.

Back then, the contract was worth $50 million. Engility is in line to pocket considerably more. The agreement is structured as a single-award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, a model that gives FDA some flexibility in terms of when and how much it works with Engility. Such contracts are capped at a value of $112 million when only a single source is involved.