ONTOFORCE 2023 recap

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ONTOFORCE's 2023 milestones and outlook for 2024

A new year is upon us and the ONTOFORCE team is preparing for an eventful 2024. Before fully jumping into the new year, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished in 2023.

ONTOFORCE team

A new year is upon us and the ONTOFORCE team is preparing for an eventful 2024. Before fully jumping into the new year, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished in 2023. 

DISQOVER improvements and evolutions driving data democratization for life sciences companies 

DISQOVER available on Kubernetes 

In April, DISQOVER became available to deploy via Kubernetes. Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes provides a platform-agnostic way to manage Docker applications, allowing them to run on a variety of cloud providers or on-premises infrastructure. It allows developers to deploy and manage applications at scale, without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.  

By running DISQOVER on Kubernetes, users benefit from the flexibility, scalability, and automation features of this leading container orchestration platform, making it easier to manage and analyze large data sets and adapt to changing research needs. 

NLP 

In May, ONTOFORCE added advanced natural language processing (NLP) capabilities for the DISQOVER platform, offering it as an add-on to existing services. The software has enabled users to extract key entities, relationships, and insights from unstructured data sources, such as biomedical literature, clinical trial reports, and patent documents. 

Product reshape 

In October, ONTOFORCE announced the reshaping of DISQOVER, our knowledge discovery platform for the life sciences industry, into a solution suite. The updated DISQOVER suite encompasses four solution areas that support users across all stages of the drug development lifecycle with targeted, tailored data applications and use cases.  

This suite approach is modular in nature, enabling ONTOFORCE clients to easily scale their DISQOVER installations faster and with lower operating costs than when compared to implementing a new tool or software from a different vendor.  This scalable suite design allows users to start with one application area and add more as needed without additional implementation work, ensuring that clients can take full advantage of DISQOVER’s technology and their investment in it. 

Data provenance 

This year, data provenance in DISQOVER became even more precise and accurate than ever before, especially when combining data. This update has improved how end users interact with data, enabling them to review sources more effectively so they can better validate findings. Additionally, this update has laid the foundation for more provenance-based filtering feature improvements in the future, as ONTOFORCE is committed to increasing the value users derive from the data within DISQOVER, and enabling increased trust with data sources is a major part of that commitment.

Interoperability 

DISQOVER is equipped with a powerful and ultra-fast data ingestion engine that allows users to import, manipulate, link, and integrate their own data into DISQOVER, using an innovative visual pipeline environment.  

Throughout the year, the data ingestion engine’s export to RDF functionality was updated to include the configuration for better integration in 3rd party applications that use RDF as input, such as triple stores like Anzo, Neo4j, Neptune, and others. Enabling this improved functionality was important as interoperability is a cornerstone of DISQOVER and we want to ensure it continues to seamlessly fit within any customers’ enterprise data stack/environment. 

SolrCloud support 

ONTOFORCE began offering SolrCloud support for DISQOVER in 2023. SolrCloud is a powerful data processing and search engine that offers robust capabilities for different types of search and has scalability features that are necessary for big data sets.   

With SolrCloud support, DISQOVER’s speed, indexing, and availability has considerably improved, meaning our users benefit from enhanced performance and stability, even while handling vast amounts of data. Additionally, the ability to share a SolrCloud installation across multiple DISQOVER instances has enabled significant cost savings for ONTOFORCE customers.    

Release updates 

Following the 6.74.0 release in October, DISQOVER transitioned to releases every four weeks. This has enabled ONTOFORCE to present new features and updates to users even faster. In 2024, quarterly communication about release updates will be available on the ONTOFORCE blog.  

Discussing data centricity, LLMs, knowledge graphs, and more at industry conferences and ONTOFORCE hosted events and webinars 

BioIT World Conference & Expo  

At the end of May, the ONTOFORCE team attended the BioIT World Conference & Expo in Boston, the well-known event for the bioinformatics and life sciences industries to discuss and share the latest developments, trends, and opportunities in the field.   

ONTOFORCE at BioIT World

ONTOFORCE’s Vice President of Sales & Partnerships, Carl Latham, and Vice President of Solution Enablement, Bérénice Wulbrecht, discussed leveraging knowledge graphs to optimize clinical development for global pharma companies on the second day of the conference. They dove deep into a customer case study from a top 10 pharma company, and how this company is utilizing DISQOVER to consolidate disparate clinical trial data from various sources and integrating it into one knowledge graph to create a powerful platform for explorative search and data analysis, driving efficiencies and insight creation. 

BioTechX Europe 

In October, members of the ONTOFORCE team traveled to Basel for BioTechX Europe. Every year, BioTechX Europe brings together pharma, academia, and clinicians to showcase innovation and foster meaningful collaborations across the field. Throughout the event, ONTOFORCE had the pleasure of leading discussions on the use of data to drive drug development forward: 

Panel discussion: How are data-centric approaches transforming the life sciences industry? 

How Data Centric approaches are transforming the Life Sciences Industry_ [4K].00_30_56_22.Still002 (1)

This panel discussion covered a range of topics centered around data centricity and adopting and encouraging data-centric approaches. ONTOFORCE’s Bérénice Wulbrecht moderated the session between industry experts from Merck, Novo Nordisk, Roche, and Novartis as they discussed data-centric cultures, the FAIR data principles, competitive data, the risks associated with GenAI, and more. Watch the recording >>> 

Presentation: Unlocking novel therapeutic targets: a synergy of cutting-edge science and data harmonization 

etherapeutics and ONTOFORCE at BioTechX

ONTOFORCE’s Carl Latham, had the opportunity to present with James Longden, Head of Discovery Biology at e-therapeutics on driving data innovation to accelerate target identification. The presentation details how e-therapeutics tackles the biological complexity of protein-protein interaction with DISQOVER to support optimized, AI-driven target identification. Watch the recording >>>

ONTOFORCE’s 2023 Customer Advisory Board and User Group Meeting 

ONTOFORCE held its second installment of our Customer Advisory Board and User Group Meeting in the autumn. The two-day event brought together our global customer base at our Ghent headquarters for interactive sessions and lively discussions.   

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During the event, we had the chance to hear directly from our customers - Merck KGaA, UCB, and the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, amongst others - as they presented on how DISQOVER is making an impact at their organizations.  

Additionally, an engaging series of round table discussions took place around LLMs and NLP. The conversations enabled our diverse attendee group, made up of data strategists, IT professionals, business leaders, and data scientists to delve into various topics centered on the transformative impact of LLMs and NLP in the realm of data exploration, search, and analytics. Read the full recap >>> 

Webinars for life sciences audiences 

On the virtual side, ONTOFORCE covered a range of topics during webinars and online events throughout the entirety of the year: 

Optimize your multi-omics research: data management challenges and best practices 

For the first webinar of the year, ONTOFORCE teamed up with ZS Associates, a management consulting and technology firm focused on transforming global healthcare to teach audiences about best practices for overcoming omics challenges in today’s biopharmaceutical research landscape.

Watch the recording >>> 

Reimagining clinical trial design: natural language processing & large language models as game changers 

In 2023, LLMs were a buzz topic across industries. For the pharmaceutical industry especially, coupling this technology with other technologies, like NLP and knowledge graphs, opens the door for transformative potential. In this webinar, our ONTOFORCE experts delved specifically into the applications and benefits of LLMs and NLP techniques within the context of clinical trials, along with how these technologies can revolutionize the way clinical trials are designed, making the process more efficient and accurate. 

Watch the recording >>> 

Actionable strategies for integrating data silos in pharma 

During this webinar, we explored the unique challenges involved in consolidating, integrating, and maintaining data from diverse sources in the life sciences field, using the 140+ data assets that we and our customers integrate continuously as an example. We also shared effective strategies that can be utilized to ensure data quality and monitor continuous integration across data silos. 

Watch the recording >>> 

Linking data to unlock insights: leveraging semantic technology, knowledge graphs, ontologies, and more 

If you are on the hunt for an insightful introduction into knowledge graph and semantic technologies for life sciences professionals, look no further than this webinar. The content also covered how these technologies unlock the value hidden within data, drive innovation, and empower decision-making.  

Watch the recording >>> 

Fireside chat: Implementing FAIR data principles in life sciences 

To wrap up our virtual events, FAIR data experts from AstraZeneca, ZIFO, Pistoia Alliance, and ONTOFORCE came together for this dynamic discussion on overcoming challenges in implementing the FAIR data principles at an organizational level. The experts also shared practical strategies to drive to success with FAIR that you don’t want to miss.  

Watch the recording >>> 

What’s in store for 2024 

The future looks bright and busy for ONTOFORCE in 2024. In line with the product roadmap that’s been developed for DISQOVER, many improvements for the platform are in store. As we further invest in refining our user interface, which is already well-known for its intuitiveness in the market, both business and expert users can expect updates that will enhance their search experience.  

Additionally, our teams will be hard at work continuing the efforts of integrating NLP across the DIQOVER solution suite so that users can further integrate the technology for specific use cases relevant to their research and work. Our teams will also be busy with further developing and testing the integration of LLM technology for DISQOVER.  

We are sure that 2024 will prove to be another exciting year for all players across the life sciences industry thanks to advancements with generative AI and other digital innovations. We look forward to watching the year unfold as the landscape of the industry continues to evolve. Through such change, ONTOFORCE will be proud to support our clients and partners as we continue to work together to adopt to these evolutions while never losing track of our ultimate shared goal of driving drug development forward for improved patient outcomes.