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New Corporate Market Products and Organization at The Institute for Scientific Information
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Posted On September 21, 1998
Moving beyond its traditional academic and research institutional markets, the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) (http://www.isinet.com) has announced the creation of a new division and the launch of a new style of products for the corporate market. Designed for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and health-care market sectors, the new products will provide customized information and answers specifically for clinical and product development, market research, medical and regulatory affairs, and competitive intelligence professionals.

ISI based its decision to move toward "solution-based products and filtering tools" on market research into these high-revenue sectors. According to Mike Tansey, president and CEO of ISI, "Based on our internal R&D efforts we believe that ISI can extend the reach of its services by providing answers, not just data, for every step of the development and product launch process for organizations in these sectors."

To implement the coming portfolio of customized products, ISI has created an international corporate business development department under Bill Gole, senior vice president, market development, and Alan Hess, vice president, corporate market development. Hess has a long history as an executive in medical and pharmaceutical areas. Most recently he was vice president of health-care products at Micromedex, another Thomson Company subsidiary. The new division will have around 140 people on staff, according to Hess, which includes some production groups such as chemistry products, ISI Document Solution, and the medical documentation service.

The new products will seek to provide basic data support to companies. According to Gole, "The suite of products we are designing will answer basic informational questions quickly and efficiently at the desktop. We will provide instantaneously accessible answers designed to enhance productivity and shorten the drug development cycle."

The first release from the new department is a product line called MetaMaps, a series of evaluated clinical data sets designed to serve as decision-shaping tools for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Developed in partnership with MetaWorks http://www.metawork.com/, MetaMaps consist of relational databases of extracted clinical data arranged in hierarchical tables based on the systematic review of key clinical trial literature relating to a particular disease setting or therapeutic area. The first release is the Alzheimer's Dementia MetaMap.

MetaWorks provides systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and other related analytic tools for the health-care industry. In 1997, the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research (AHCPR) designated MetaWorks as the only for-profit Evidence-Based Practice Center. In developing MetaMaps, ISI relies on MetaWorks' physician-based editorial process and strict inclusion and exclusion criteria as an enhanced peer-review protocol.

With MetaMaps, users can browse data extracted from the reports from multiple perspectives—study, patient, treatment, outcome, safety data, etc. Users can also "drill down" to the underlying information. MetaWorks develops specific protocols for each disease studied. Susan Ross, M.D. and co-founder of MetaWorks, says that the new MetaMaps "provide an intuitive user interface to a quality-filtered peer-reviewed database of clinical trial information ... unparalleled in the medical informatics industry." The analysis will extract, filter, and categorize data from selected studies, but not necessarily normalize all the figures. The number and type of publications covered will vary depending upon the literature for the specific disease studied. For example, the 120 core clinical studies in Alzheimer's Dementia may come from around 20 to 25 journals, according to Hess. The MetaMaps will include bibliographic information for verification.

Initially the Alzheimer's Dementia MetaMap will be delivered in CD-ROM format, with Web access to follow by the fall of 1999, according to Hess. The next MetaMap products will cover asthma and selected cancers. In the initial release, MetaMaps will not include a document delivery option, but they plan to add the ability to generate a document request in future releases. Prices for the Alzheimer's Dementia MetaMap should start at $15,000 for a 5-seat subscription. Updates will follow different frequencies for different diseases covered by MetaMaps, depending upon the volume of material in the field. For example, according to Hess, the Alzheimer's Dementia MetaMap may update every 6 months, while the future MetaMap for asthma may get quarterly updates. Hess indicated that when they move the MetaMaps onto the Web, they may increase updating frequency substantially.

In time, ISI will expand its corporate marketing to other industries and segments, according to Hess, as driven by market opportunities and customer needs.


Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.


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