How Debiopharm’s digital transformation journey is ushering in a new era for drug development and clinical trials


Rene Van Den Bersselaar, Debiopharm’s Global Head of IT & CIO, explains how the biotech firm is embracing the future of pharma with a digital transformation journey that is ushering in a new era for drug development and clinical trials.

Future proofing pharma

Debiopharm is focused on the development of innovative prescription medicines in the areas of oncology, infectious diseases and orphan drugs.

Van Den Bersselaar joined Debiopharm in 2017 to re-define the IT strategy at Group level and establish a new application and infrastructure architecture landscape with a focus on R&D, clinical trial operations, manufacturing and finance.

“When I took on the role, we were still very much a siloed project and Excel driven organisation and not ready to scale or to automate and digitalise our processes,” recalls the CIO.

“My first objective was to build a stable and reliable Infrastructure foundation with a flawless internet and cybersecurity architecture to support a renewed IT organisation, establishing capabilities for data management, CSV, analytics, managed services and an eLibrary portal.”

Debiopharm is R&D and clinical operation.


Debiopharm is R&D and clinical operations driven. “Our business model is that we license in molecules to our pipeline, and conduct research from pre-clinical studies, all the way up to clinical phase I and II,” explains Van Den Bersselaar.

“We work a lot with external CROs (Clinical Research Organisations) worldwide which necessitates data exchange and digital collaboration. During the last five years my team’s efforts have been focused on meeting those requirements to fully enable and digitise the organisation.”

Before the global pandemic set in, Debiopharm was fortunate to have finalised the implementation of Microsoft 365 with Office 365, SharePoint and Teams relatively seamlessly.

“This proved to be a great experience for us and it also helped drive the adoption of other new tools,” recalls Debiopharm’s IT leader.

Next up was the implementation of Dotmatics, a bioinformatics and ELN platform for Debiopharm’s research labs and precision medicine (or Translational Medicine) group. Requiring a secure home for the increasing levels of data being generated and shared, the implementation of the Azure Cloud data warehouse was another natural step.

Partnering for success

Debiopharm is working with vendors for a tried and tested, out of the box, but configurable, approach to digital transformation. Alongside managing its migration to the Azure cloud with OSB and data harmonisation via BC Platforms, the biotech firm originally partnered with Dotmatics in 2017.

Read the full story here!


Related Stories

Xcel Energy: Procurement as a valued business partner

We meet Sangram Bhosale, Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Xcel Energy to see how procurement is changing the way the energy giant operates through a progressive, value-unlocking change in its role…

Best Buy: The mission to deliver world-class procurement

We catch up with Vice President of Procurement, Best Buy, Anna Barej, Chief Finance Officer, Matt Bilunas and Director, Procurement Center of Excellence, Shawn Calabrase to see how the electronic retail giant is unlocking real value for the company through a major transformation of its Procurement function…

GuidePoint Security: digital transformation in cybersecurity

Todd Salmon, Executive Advisor for Strategic Services at GuidePoint Security, on the cybersecurity challenge of keeping up with the pace of the ever-changing digital world

bp: a strategic reinvention

Nick Hales, Head of Strategic Transformation and Emmanouela Vlachantoni, Strategy & Transformation Senior Manager, on the journey to reinvent business processes that are reimagining bp

CEMEX: transformation through working smarter

How a people-centric focus is driving transformation at CEMEX

Fairfax County: winning the IT war with cybersecurity

Chief Information Security Officer Michael Dent on the development of a cybersecurity program enabling government services and keeping citizens safe in Fairfax County

CalArts: people-oriented IT

Allan Chen, Vice President of Institute Technology & Chief Technology Officer at CalArts talks about how an IT strategy based on coordination and collaboration is supporting six schools

Piedmont Healthcare: data and analytics at the heart of growth

Mark Jackson, Executive Director of Business Intelligence at Piedmont Healthcare, on the data strategy driving speed to insight at scale

State of Florida: digital government services

Jamie Grant, Chief Information Officer for the State of Florida, charts the genesis of a transformation program delivering a Digital Service supporting federal agencies to achieve their goals.

We believe in a personal approach

By working closely with our customers at every step of the way we ensure that we capture the dedication, enthusiasm and passion which has driven change within their organisations and inspire others with motivational real-life stories.