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Revolution R at Pfizer


Background

“De facto, R is already a significant component of Pfizer core technology. Access to a supported version of R will allow us to keep pace with the growing use of R in the organization, and provides a path forward to use of R in regulated applications.”

James A. Rogers Ph.D., Associate Director, Nonclinical Statistics Group, Pfizer Global Research and Development

 

R is an implementation of the S language which, “forever altered how people analyze visualize, and manipulate data” (excerpt from the citation accompanying the Association for Computing Machinery Award for Software Systems, awarded to John Chambers in 1998 for his development of the language). Pfizer current uses of R include the following:

  1. Analysis of genetic data, including whole-genome SNP profiling of 100K+ SNPs (Molecular Profiling).
  2. Microarray pre-processing (normalization, summarization, scaling) and analysis of gene expression data, analysis of RNAi/cellomic assays, analysis of rtPCR gene expression data, predictive models for method of action (Discovery and Safety Sciences)
  3. Predictive modeling relating structure to outcomes such as activity and ADMET properties (Discovery Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences).
  4. Ad hoc visualization, exploratory data analyses, curve fitting, and mixed model analyses (Discovery Biology).
  5. Monte Carlo simulation

Moreover, Pfizer is dependent on R as a component of the following software systems:

  1. Microarray data analysis system.
  2. System for deploying statistical calculations to the web.
  3. Database for Pharmacogenomics genetic information.
  4. Analysis workflow tool.
  5. In-silico model generator.
  6. Biology analysis and data management system

The use of R at Pfizer now seems to have outpaced their ability to support that use. As R is provided freely, it comes with no installation support, no programming support, no guarantee that adequate testing has been applied to new releases, and so on. At times, significant Pfizer resources have been consumed by the installation and configuration process, both on servers and PCs. More than with commercially supported applications, it is often difficult to assess whether errors are the fault of the programmer, the installation technician, or the language itself. Also, programming support has informally become the responsibility of (perceived) in-house experts, who also have day jobs.

Solution

Value Added by RPro

RPro is a value-added, commercially supported version of the R language offered by Revolution Analytics. Advantages of RPro over public domain R include:

  1. Contract assurance that industry best practices are being followed with respect to the software development and security. In addition, documentation of the processes used is made available to Pfizer at a very detailed level (e.g. including specific descriptions of unit tests performed).
  2. Contract assurance that releases will be delivered according to an agreed upon schedule.
  3. Pre-compiled binaries and installers for Windows, Linux, and Solaris (32 and 64 bit).
  4. Bug fixes for current and previous releases. These would be “hot patches”, i.e. they would not require a complete reinstall as do the publicly available bug fixes.
  5. Phone and email support during normal business hours. This includes installation and configuration support as well as programming support.

User

About Revolution Analytics

Revolution Analytics was founded in 2007 to foster the R community, as well as support the growing needs of commercial users. Our name derives from combining the letter "R" with the word "evolution." It speaks to the ongoing development of the R language from an open-source academic research tool into commercial applications for industrial use.

Though our Revolution R products, we aim to make the power of predictive analytics accessible to every type of user & budget. We provide free and premium software and services that bring high-performance, productivity and ease-of-use to R – enabling statisticians and scientists to derive greater meaning from large sets of critical data in record time.  

We also offer our full-featured production-grade software to the academic community for FREE, in order to support the continued spread of R's popularity to the next generation of analysts. 

For customers such as Pfizer, Novartis, Yale Cancer Center, Bank of America and others, our flagship Revolution R Enterprise product stands for faster drug development, reduced time of data analysis, and more powerful and efficient financial models.

About Revolution Analytics

Revolution Analytics was founded in 2007 to foster the R community, as well as support the growing needs of commercial users. Our name derives from combining the letter "R" with the word "evolution." It speaks to the ongoing development of the R language from an open-source academic research tool into commercial applications for industrial use. 

Though our Revolution R products, we aim to make the power of predictive analytics accessible to every type of user & budget. We provide free and premium software and services that bring high-performance, productivity and ease-of-use to R – enabling statisticians and scientists to derive greater meaning from large sets of critical data in record time.  

We also offer our full-featured production-grade software to the academic community for FREE, in order to support the continued spread of R's popularity to the next generation of analysts. 

For customers such as Pfizer, Novartis, Yale Cancer Center, Bank of America and others, our flagship Revolution R Enterprise product stands for faster drug development, reduced time of data analysis, and more powerful and efficient financial models.