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New Pharmaceutical Information Tool Coming From Thomson Reuters—Cortellis
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Posted On November 14, 2011


In fall 2011, Thomson Reuters’s Life Science people began advertising a new product called Thomson Reuters Cortellis for Competitive Intelligence, based on next-generation technology. The press releases talk about “intuitive methods for searching” and using “trusted life science information” along with “visualization tools and analytics” to help the end user “retrieve data to reflect … changing information needs.”

Sounds really promising, but what does that all mean? What databases are really being used? Who is the targeted end user? What level of integration with a customers’ intranet would exist, and what types of pricing levels would exist for small versus large companies?

Amanda Mulvihill from Information Today and I paired up for a call with the Life Sciences team of Wendy Hamilton, Paul Sandell, and Jim Nichols. They were forthcoming about the plans both short and long-term including a strategy for moving into the next tenure of research.

Essentially, Cortellis is the company’s vision of the research future. All the other products will eventually be discontinued in the current software frameworks because they will be migrated to this new platform.

Thomson Reuters has been undertaking a variety of customer market research in the last few years. They have discovered a void exists regarding innovative searching, that current programs lack self-service using intuitive programming. The Cortellis platform will support the needs of professional searchers with advanced searching features but leads with a quick search strategy that will attract more users because it doesn’t require knowledge of a search strategy.

These end users can be anyone within the organization. Marketing people, product development executive, even scientific researchers. There will be a more generalized, intuitive front-end for many users, but Hamilton insists the targeted functionality, or “power scenarios,” will still exist for those power searchers who prefer the zippy sports car over the luxury sedan (my much-belated thanks to Mary Ellen Bates for that analogy).

The content of the system at the moment is limited to competitive intelligence, pipeline information gleaned from sources such as Thomson Reuters Pharma, and patent information from Dolphin. The long-term plan will be to include Reuters Drug News, IDRAC, Newport, and potentially all the Thomson Reuters Life Sciences databases into one overall infrastructure with the two different search interfaces and options based on the user’s preference. When that happens, there will be no need to continue maintaining all the individual platforms, so they will be discontinued one-by-one.

There will be Twitter feeds, meetings/conference reports, real-time news streams, and the ability to integrate with systems such as SharePoint for company-wide news delivery. There will be integration with FAST, the Microsoft search solution, plus the capabilities of TIBCO Spotfire to handle visual analytics. Oh, and while the iPad is currently compatible, there are plans to expand to mobile devices by the end-of-the-year or early 1Q 2012. The team would like feedback before developing a smart phone app.

Basically all the bells and whistles that come with a brand-new technology the team refers to as “best of breed,” as it was “built from the ground up” with the ability to “leverage taxonomies” it has already created to pull in the desired content.

Great. So, for a person from a small company with a small budget, what is about to happen to my current access and how will I even be able to think of affording such a product?

The team reassured me that in 2012, no products will be going away. This means everyone can expect all databases to undergo at least one more year of renewal. Some, the more complex ones such as Integrity, may exist for another 2 years. The team was unable to commit after that time.

In general, the price each company will pay depends on the number of users, the content, the amount of integration, and the specific users’ needs. There will be the ability to deploy certain types of content to certain users, indicating that CEOs won’t need to see the heavy clinical content while scientists won’t have to see the graphical dashboards of sales prices, which do not have much influence on their clinical trials. Thomson Reuters says that Cortellis will support today’s pricing/packaging models as well as new flexible pricing models. These will be increasing attractive to small companies that may need less content. Existing customers will be provided an upgrade to Cortellis with no additional charge.

There will not be a price based on the type of user (I assume this means power user versus scientist versus casual reader) but instead based on the usage by use, which to me is a type of user. And, how is the initial price determined if it is unclear what the usage will be? Thomson Reuters reports that the price will be based on the collection of content types a particular user is entitled to have. It is by user and by content or information set they are entitled to use.

Flexibility was stressed. The company will work with the individual organization to determine needs for various end users based on the content desired and the integration with systems. In short, no one was providing any solid numbers.

A trial to the system was available for a short period. This author signed up to participate but received the message that, “This specific trial program is open to Pharma/Biotech firms with drugs in discovery or investment firms (actively investing in Life Sciences) in the USA and Europe.” Apparently, the short-term focus will be on certain types of organizations and their needs before anyone plans to query the other users as to feasibility and use. Bit of a bummer, as it would have been nice to actually test the platform individually. The Life Sciences team, however, has promised me a webinar in the coming weeks so interested people should really reach out to the Sales Team for individualized attention.

The Thomson Reuters representatives then said that, “All TRP/TPP customers already have concurrent access to Cortellis and their current solution and that has been in place since early 2011. We are also offering trials to net new biopharma customers. We have not extended trials to Integrity customers yet but will next year when the Integrity content is made available on Cortellis.”

For those interested in the more technical aspects of the program, look for an article from Amanda Mulvihill in an upcoming issue of Information Today.


Tara Breton is a librarian for a healthcare consulting company.

Email Tara Breton

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12/10/2012Thomson Reuters Announces Cortellis for Clinical Trials Intelligence
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