Q&A with Alex Sefanov of BioPharm Systems
VSM: What does BioPharm Systems do and where does the company conduct its business?
AS: BioPharm is an IT consulting company that provides life sciences organizations with numerous services that enable them to use Oracle’s clinical trial, data, and pharmacovigilance software applications. Founded in 1995 – right around the corner from Oracle’s headquarters in the Silicon Valley – we were one of the first companies to specialize in the implementation of Oracle Clinical, the most widely used clinical data management system on the market.
Since then, we have continued to expand our services and expertise. In response to growing international interest in enterprise clinical trial software, we established an office in the UK several years ago and have enjoyed increasing international exposure. We now offer services for over 10 Oracle Health Sciences applications to companies all over the world.
VSM: Why and when did you start providing hosting services?
AS: BioPharm started offering hosting services in 2002 when we realized smaller companies could not effectively manage or afford to have their systems on-site. These sophisticated clinical and pharmacovigilance applications require significant technical and financial resources that many SMBs simply cannot afford. Hosting with a provider like us is a cost-effective alternative that allows companies to focus less on technical aspects and more on clinical work. Although we started our hosting services for small sponsors and clinical research organizations, our clientele now includes much larger companies, too.
VSM: Can you provide an overview of the managed hosting services you offer?
AS: We have several hosting options a client can choose from. The most common choice is traditional or dedicated hosting, in which the client owns both the software and the hardware, but we manage and maintain the server and underlying infrastructure.
If companies are on a very tight budget, they can opt for shared hosting, which is the most cost-effective option. In shared hosting, multiple virtual machines share the same hardware. Different systems and applications run on the various virtual machines, which are run on the same physical computer. The virtual machines are private and cannot access each other – this is a logical separation strictly enforced by design. Clients own only the software in shared hosting.
A third option is our on-demand or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, where both the software and hardware are owned and maintained by us, while the client pays a subscription fee.
VSM: What specific applications do you host for customers?
AS: The most common systems we host for our customers are Oracle Clinical, Remote Data Capture, Thesaurus Management System, Siebel Clinical, and Argus Safety. We have the ability to host most of Oracle’s clinical and pharmacovigilance systems.
VSM: What types of hosting customers do you have?
AS: We have various customers – small and large – that decide to host with us. These include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, in addition to clinical research organizations and academic institutions. We do not have a “typical” customer.