Third Rock Ventures Uses Egnyte as a Catalyst for Biotech Growth
Third Rock partners with Egnyte to help emerging biotechs start on the right foot with tools for simple, secure data management and collaboration.
Third Rock Ventures is a venture capital firm and incubator for biotech startups focused on building sustainable, innovative companies that transform patients’ lives. Since 2007, it has helped launch 60 companies that are currently at various stages of maturity, from early discovery to broad commercial success. To date, these companies have brought 18 products to market – products that are now making an impact in the lives of patients and their families.
Over the past decade, Third Rock has evolved with the changing technology landscape, and Egnyte has been an integral part of its success, using the cloud to jumpstart growth for its emerging companies.
Challenge: Managing Data, Partners, and Regulations at Scale
Building a life sciences company has never been easy, but the growing volume and variety of data make it especially challenging. John Keilty, venture partner at Third Rock, explains: “You need to raise money, adhere to regulations, navigate R&D and clinical trials, hire the right people in an incredibly competitive market, and eventually commercialize your output.”
Early stage biotechs work closely with partner organizations like CROs to run experiments in the course of the drug discovery and development process. They also need to ensure they capture data from all relevant sources—internal and external—as part of their decision-making process. “This creates a variety of complications ranging from pulling together very heterogeneous data to dealing with the permissions and the security involved with having external folks providing data to a very IP-centric business,” Keilty said.
Third Rock needed a platform that could manage the quality and quantity of data being produced. It needed to support secure collaboration internally and externally. And, since its companies are subject to digital content regulations like 21 CFR Part 11 and financial disclosures and auditing rules for going public, it needed a platform that could stand up to regulatory and financial scrutiny as its companies mature.
“At their core, every biotech company that Third Rock starts is a data company,” Keilty said. “With that comes an obligation to protect that data appropriately.”
It’s a lot for any startup, let alone 60. And with Third Rock launching three per year on average, it needed a data management strategy that was repeatable and scalable, so its nascent companies were primed for growth.
Solution: Centralized Data Management for Accelerated Growth
Keilty works with the Third Rock platform team to develop, implement, and refine technology roadmaps across the firm’s portfolio. Over time, it has developed a cloud-based IT strategy that revolves around accelerating progress for companies as they incubate and launch. IT leaders at Third Rock call this “biotech in a box,” because companies are given a playbook that includes cloud infrastructure and a broad suite of SaaS applications.
“We think biotech in a box leads to the lowest common denominator to help our companies,” Keilty said. “Ultimately they'll go their own way, but we feel we've been able to accelerate their internal development with our approach.”
Over the past nine years, Egnyte has become a core piece of Third Rock’s SaaS strategy to address the broad and deep data storage and workflow needs of its biotech companies, providing unified content management of both regulated and unregulated data. For example, CROs rely on Egnyte to push large data volumes in real time to Egnyte’s cloud, accelerating deployment and creating a central repository so researchers can more easily do their work.
“Egnyte is a great choice for emerging life science companies, because out of the box, it will support your operations,” said Karina Chmielewski, vice president of platform operations at Third Rock.
That includes operational support for R&D and lab data management, Chmielewski said. Companies can track and secure their most sensitive files, and scientists can easily share data stored in Egnyte with their preferred R&D platforms for deeper analysis.
Benefits: Data Management That Grows With Life Sciences Firms
In today’s evolving industry landscape, technology is the underlying thread that connects all Third Rock’s challenges, Keilty said. That’s why Egnyte has been integral to its success.
“Biotechs need tools that can produce better outcomes, whether it involves audit trails for compliance, managing terabytes of data, or improving workflows when working with CROs. Egnyte makes all that possible," Keilty said.
One of the best parts of partnering with Egnyte has been how the two companies have evolved together. Looking back at its early days, Third Rock has moved on from other vendors that went in a different direction, but Egnyte has been there in tandem all along.
“What's been exciting about Egnyte is, they remain at the epicenter of a lot of our software as a service strategy,” Keilty said.
Egnyte has leaned into the life sciences space, creating specialized capabilities that dovetail with the needs of biotechs that face different demands at different stages of development. This includes existing capabilities around safe and fast data transfers and appropriate file access. It also includes newer advancements like Egnyte’s GxP capabilities, which help early-stage startups accelerate their trajectory into the clinical trial stage. The broader push into data protection also helps with data governance as required by the FDA, global healthcare agencies, and financial regulators (e.g., 21 CFR Part 11, SOX, and GDPR, to name a few).
“We can basically flip the switches with Egnyte as our biotech startups mature in their lifecycle to right-size the breadth of Egnyte offerings,” Keilty said.
Ultimately, the Egnyte platform delivers on its promises, serving as an important pillar for Third Rock’s IT strategy so its startups can focus less on the underlying technology and more on making a difference in patients’ lives.
“Building a life science company is a very complex process,” Chmielewski said. “What I love about Egnyte is that I can actually sleep at night knowing that my data is secure, that our scientists can work more effectively, and that we can launch a company in a day.”
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