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October 24, 2019

Mulesoft: how can API tools speed up drug development?

At its Connect conference in London in early October, MuleSoft brought together its customers and clients across all sectors to discuss how enterprise software, and particularly APIs, can drive efficiencies and contribute to digital transformation. Mulesoft’s David Chao and AstraZeneca’s Satish Maram explain how an API tools can support better connected drug development and help bring products to market quicker.

By Allie Nawrat

San Franscisco-based MuleSoft provides enterprise software, and particularly application program interface (API) tools through its flagship Anypoint plaform, to various industries ranging from retail to media and financial services.

Healthcare is an important industry for MuleSoft – it now has more than 40 healthcare customers globally, including major players in the field, according to head of product marketing David Chao.

At the MuleSoft Connect conference at London’s ExCel Centre, Chao explains that APIs and integration have really helped pharma companies to drive business value, characterised by bringing a drug to market.

“The ability to get [a drug] to market first is a key differentiator of success,” says Chao. “If you think about a day’s delay here, a day’s delay there, and you stack all of those together, it really starts to add up.”

However, Chao notes, by using APIs as “units of connectivity”, pharma companies can streamline their clinical trials processes with easier, integrated access to data, as well as support the marketing of drugs following approval. It can be integrated with their existing systems, such as Veeva’s Vault, which is one of MuleSoft’s technology partners.

APIs are like Lego in that they can be endlessly recycled for different projects, driving further productivity savings.

Chao gives the example of sharing data from a clinical trial project with pharma reps who market the drug to payers or healthcare services.

“Rather than having to create a separate project to pull that data, you can reuse the API building block, ” he says.

MuleSoft also supports its pharma customers to share data in a way that is both secure and compliant. “With APIs you can really track data provenance and where it is going, [providing] more fine grained visibility,” Chao explains.

AstraZeneca: harnessing tech for faster delivery of medicines to patients

AstraZeneca began implementing MuleSoft’s platforms in December 2018 with the aim of simplifying access to data by connecting systems together to support faster drug development and delivery to patients. AstraZeneca’s director of API and integration services Satish Maram explained the process during a digital transformation panel at the MuleSoft Connect conference.

Rather than focusing on the clinical space specifically, Maram notes that “we are straddling everything together” as “there is no one thing more important than the other.” This has been supported by the re-use and recycling nature of APIs to drive even more operational efficiency.

After overcoming funding issues, the main challenge AstraZeneca has faced in implementing of MuleSoft API tools over the past year has been in changing the mind-set of the company. This journey has been supported by gaining acceptance both from the top down and the bottom up.

“AstraZeneca is still evolving its API Journey,” Maram notes. “There are some pockets who really believe in APIs. I think it is finally transforming into a business conversation…as we have demonstrated some really good business value from this API-led approach.

“We want to do more with less; that’s business value. AstraZeneca has policies about growth through innovation – all the time we save, we put back into innovation; putting patients first is the most important thing.” In terms of achieving better data integration and reaching these goals, he concludes “there is no better solution than APIs.”

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