Meet the data company driving development of top COVID-19 vaccines

Meet Dassault Systèmes, a French company that is capturing the clinical data in the right format and at the right time for dozens of companies.

Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration (photo credit: REUTERS/ DADO RUVIC)
Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration
(photo credit: REUTERS/ DADO RUVIC)
There are nearly 200 companies internationally working to develop a coronavirus vaccine. To get to the finish line, each will have to go through complicated approval processes.
Meet Dassault Systèmes, a French company with an Israeli subsidiary, that is capturing the clinical data in the right format and at the right time for dozens of these companies – including Moderna and Israel’s MIGAL, the Galilee Research Institute.
“The authorities want to see all the data captured in a very specific manner and on a very specific timeline,” Eli Boichis, the general manager for Dassault Systèmes Israel, told The Jerusalem Post. The company’s tools capture the data in the right format and time to help ensure companies meet their deadlines and get approved.
Eli Boichis, the general manager for Dassault Systèmes (Credit: Tanya Zlichonok)Eli Boichis, the general manager for Dassault Systèmes (Credit: Tanya Zlichonok)
“We can tell companies that based on the results [of their trial], we think they will or will not be on time or on budget,” he said, explaining that its Acorn AI platform is comprised of more than 20,000 clinical trials and is the industry’s largest structured, standardized clinical data repository with more than five million patients.

Moreover, the company’s Medidata technology has surveyed more than 1,000 sites to see how the 
COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their ability to start, conduct and complete clinical studies – unrelated to developing a vaccine.

But it’s bread and butter is not just AI or data processing: Dassault Systèmes brands itself as “providing businesses and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations.”

In the life sciences realm, this means that it allows doctors and scientists to realistically simulate procedures or medical devices.
“Say you want to implant a stent in someone’s body,” Boichis explained. “You want to make sure the stent can expand to open the blood vessel on one side, but not open too much to create pressure on the vessel or, God forbid, more than that.”

Through Dassault Systèmes, the process can be evaluated before being actualized, in a simulated world that is as close as one can envision to reality.

MIGAL is using Dassault Systèmes’s BIOVIA solution to do something similar.

According to a release by the company, BIOVIA “creates an unmatched scientific management environment that can help science-based organizations create and connect biological, chemical and material innovations to improve the way we live.”

MIGAL had been using BIOVIA applications and others by Dassault Systèmes for four years. In a release, the company said the tools proved instrumental to its development of an avian coronavirus vaccine. Now, it is using these same applications and computational tools to apply its research to the study of COVID-19 mutations. BIOVIA enables MIGAL to guide its laboratory and experiment management processes with a digital approach that speeds research results.

“Its scientists can quickly process and analyze the research data gathered during the past four years and model viral protein behavior and the evolution of its predicted neutralization epitopes,” a release explained. “This enables them to rationalize the test results from different aspects of their past research and decide which research strategies to take going forward.”

BIOVIA Pipeline Pilot streamlines the research innovation cycle by supporting the rapid development and deployment of data science work flows that accelerate the generation of actionable scientific insights, the company explained. BIOVIA Discovery Studio delivers a comprehensive set of modeling and simulation methods to explore the nuances of protein chemistry and drive the discovery and development of small and large molecule therapeutics from target ID to lead optimization.

Dassault Systèmes is a 40-year-old company that acquired an Israeli startup in 1999 and maintains a team of about 20 people in the country. Dassault Systèmes Israel is based in Ra’anana.

“Approving drugs or a vaccine is a very complex and detailed process,” Boichis said, adding that he sees Dassault Systèmes as a partner in making it happen.

“We want to develop products that will serve people better."



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