“Pharma and chemical science researchers are drowing in data”
Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a leading C-suite figure. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Stephen Gallagher: CEO of Dotmatics, a global scientific informatics solutions and service provider based in the UK.
Stephen – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
The number one challenge for all R&D and science firms is how to manage the data their research teams are generating, as they prepare for the ‘digital lab’. Thanks to the ever-increasing volume of data being created from genomic sequencing, analysis, testing, lab hardware, and many other data streams, researchers in pharma and chemical science alike are drowning in the data deluge.
Researchers are now faced with so much data that they spend more time finding it and formatting it than they do innovating and getting products to market. As a result, even though more data is available than ever before, we’re seeing R&D productivity stagnate.
Which Technology Excites You Most?
Like many industries today, the world of scientific discovery is extremely excited about the potential of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). ML has been part of our informatics solutions since inception, enhanced methods in our visualisation and data-analytics tools allow scientists to test the predictive power of their datasets. For us, it’s more important that we help customers ‘operationalise’ ML and AI, through building it into the digital worlds in which research scientists work so they can train and validate data models used in directing the best ‘next step’ in the innovation process.
I’ve had plenty of memorable moments since I co-founded Dotmatics in 2005, but one of the greatest successes came earlier this year, when we received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Recipients of this award are proposed by the Prime Minister to Her Majesty the Queen – which makes the award all the more special.
We won because of our success in overseas trade, which is very satisfying as we’ve always had an emphasis on increasing our international sales – and we now have offices in Seoul, Tokyo and Melbourne, as well as expanding our established offices in the UK, San Diego and Boston.
There are many! I ’ve been involved in research for nearly 30 years, and you soon learn that failure is inevitable when you work in a field devoted to innovation. My philosophy has always been that you are going to get things wrong in both business and in science – just make sure you at least try and ‘fail early’ so you can fix issues fast.
In Another Life I’d Be…
Hopefully a professional golfer!