Press Release: 57th Annual General Meeting of the P-D-R 2015

The Pharma Documentation Ring (P-D-R) held its 57th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Zurich, Switzerland, from 23rd – 25th September 2015. The P-D-R is an association whose members represent the information departments of the leading international R&D-based pharmaceutical corporations. The 25 member companies continue to account for 60% of the total global turnover of ethical drugs (approximately $500 billion); by far the majority of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies are P-D-R members. 33 delegates attended this year’s meeting, which was hosted by Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

The President of P-D-R Andrew Clark’s opening presentation started with an overview of the P-D-R activities over 2014/2015. Special highlights have been the launch of the P-D-R Wikipedia page in April and a one day Special Workshop on authentication in Windsor, England in June. It was well attended by 50 P-D-R members and Industry Representatives. Panel discussions covered the following two topics: What do you believe seamless access means to the users? What do you believe will be the next method of authentication? The P-D-R President reviewed industry trends and acknowledge that we as information professionals continue to have budget pressures and have pressure to review and provide different information delivery methods. Three key issues and challenges for us as information professionals were highlighted, developments in technology, continuous evolution of user behavior and skills deficit. The challenge given to all participants at the end of the opening presentation was to think about how is their function within their phama company doing? What new trends, technologies or events are emerging? What should be offered and what changes in people, products or processes must be made?

Each company attending the annual meeting provides an overview of changes in their company information areas, new information products reviewed and added, and the overall position of their information group within their companies. This gives the member companies an excellent opportunity for benchmarking organizational set up and their own strategies. The trend noticed from these company reports were more text mining and visualization activities are taking place.

The regular hot topics session allowed members to discuss four different topics of interest. (1) access authentication to information; (2) patient insights during the development chain; (3) serving remote and changing organizations and (4) pharmacovigilance support. The feedback from these sessions allows the members to identify activities which will take place during the upcoming year

The P-D-R Topic groups presented throughout the 3 day meeting on topics ranging from:

  • “Visualization – Where Are We and Where Will We Go”: Big data is only getting bigger. We need to be able to combine structured data with unstructured data. Do visualization adds any value? Can researchers find results not normally found? Can decisions be made from the visualized data?
  • “Offering Central Information Services in a Global Organization”. We all work in Global Organizations and it remains a challenge to serve all. Many information departments have limited staff and limited time to reach a global community. How do we find the best balance between limited staff and best services to provide?
  • “Text Mining of Biomedical Information”. Text mining is being investigated and applied by most of the member companies. Case studies were presented on different use cases.
  • “Competitive Intelligence – They and Us in One Company”. The topic group presented an overview of the CI groups in their respective companies.
  • “Training Strategy and Concepts”. Training provided to users as part of information department strategies to enable end users to help themselves, freeing up time for task with more ROI.

The meeting hosted some external speakers.
The chemical topic group offered the “Challenges and Trends in Chemistry and Patent Information” session and invited Paul Peters, from ACS International and Elke Muller from STN – FIZ Karlsruhe to present on the CAS and STN view and showed recent and future developments.

Joachim Buhmann, ETH Zurich, presented on Big Data in Medicine : A Quest for Machine Learning. Big data in medicine is a reality. Nevertheless, there is a high demand for annotated medical data. The challenge is to bring together and integrate current computing power and technology and medical in the service of knowledge discovery. Computers are able to save millions of data points and discover complex patterns in medical data and utilize them for diagnosis and prognosis. This offers a unique opportunity to drive medical knowledge and medical practice forward.

The highlight of the meeting was a strategic session with two external speakers: “Disruptive Innovation & Patient Centricity”

Bryn Roberts from Roche presented on personalized healthcare and what that means in a pharmaceutical setting. Today in medicine, it is common that physicians use the standard of care for the treatment of their patient. With personalized medicine, these treatments can be more specifically tailored to an individual and give insight into how their body will respond to the drug and if that drug will work based on their genome. The personal genotype can allow physicians to have more detailed information that will guide them in their decision in treatment prescriptions, which will be more cost-effective and accurate. Personalized healthcare puts the patient in focus – maximizing the probability of safe and effective medicines. More value for patients, economic pressures and new technologies are pushing it along, and no longer is it one size fits all. Mark Burfoot from Novartis presented on Disruptive Innovation as an Enabler. What does disruptive innovation mean for Information Departments? How can they disrupt routine technologies and create the extraordinary for the future and not wait for the disruption? Disruptive innovation can bring a new market and a new value network. The challenge is to find a way to move out of the box and challenge the current status.

The P-D-R Board was elected for the next two year term. Claudia Körner from Bayer Pharma AG stepped down and Helen Malone from GlaxoSmithKline was elected. The rest of the Board remained for the next term. Andrew Clark, UCB, President; Nola Heyns, Eli Lilly, Secretary; Matthias Staab, Sanofi, Vice President and Anni-Barbara Endler-Jobst, F.Hoffmann-La Roche, Vice President.

During the gala dinner, Deborah Juterbock from Novartis Pharmaceuticals was awarded the Jane Whitall Award for her outstanding contribution towards P-D-R activities during the previous year’s recognising her active involvement in P-D-R working groups and living the P-D-R values. This award is a lasting tribute to Jane Whittall of Glaxo SmithKline who was a P-D-R member since 1992 and died in June 2003. Jane Whittall was very active on behalf of the P-D-R until her untimely death.

The meeting closed with Andrew Clark (UCB), President, thanking the members and the board for their active involvement during the year, The 58th P-D-R meeting will be held in San Francisco, USA from September 13th to 16th, 2016 hosted by Gilead Sciences.


P-D-R Board Members 2014/2015
Andrew Clark, UCB, President
Nola Heyns, Eli Lilly, Secretary
Claudia Körner, Bayer, Vice President
Matthias Staab, Sanofi, Vice President
Anni-Barbara Endler-Jobst, F.Hoffmann-La Roche, Vice President