Futuristic as this might seem, its planning has already begun. Many of the system's potential components now exist as independent
informatics systems. Others (such as Biochemical Efficiency Predictive Tools) are currently in development. The goal is to
consolidate information about targets, therapy areas, compounds, and genomics under a knowledge-driven user interface, now
dubbed Dashboard. It is anticipated, for example, that users might interrogate Dashboard about a safety issue arising from
a compound in a research project. Using information from a network of databases, and applying a set of underlying knowledge
rules, Dashboard would rate the risk and advise the user on optimizing the compound's structure or exploring the safety issue
through additional biological assays.
The debut of a system like Dashboard would herald a new and very different type of engagement between research and informatics.
Traditionally, informatics professionals automated laboratories. Later, the contribution to research grew, as informatics
specialists began to provide researchers with tools to support drug-discovery decisions. But with the appearance of systems
like Dashboard, the informatics professional will assume a new role: partner in the quest to discover new medicines. Dashboard's
knowledge base will incorporate Roche expertise in drug development (as well as discovery) and may even be used in secure
and appropriate ways with Roche partners.
MaryJo Zaborowski (firstname.lastname@example.org
) is senior VP, global head of research, development, and partnering informatics for Roche. Juergen Hammer (email@example.com
) is global head of research informatics for Roche. Gloria Lawler (firstname.lastname@example.org
) is a science writer.