Quintiles is the world’s largest life sciences services firm, and now it’s making a play to bolster its business by coupling information technology with its research, analysis and other drug related knowledge.

A recent move into “cloud computing” by Quintiles helped vault the Triangle-based company to No. 4 on InformationWeek’s annual “500” top IT firms. The magazine cited Quintiles’ IT cloud venture known as Infosario. Quintiles ranked No. 189 a year ago and also made the list in 2009.

“Looking To Make IT A Revenue Driver, Quintiles Turns To The Cloud,” the magazine says in a feature story that focuses on Quintiles and Chief Information Officer Richard Thomas.

Thomas was named CIO at Quintiles in 2010. He had previously served as chief technology officer.

Quintiles opened its own data center last fall in Bangalore, India, and from there launched its own private “cloud” network. 

“Simple, intuitive and rapid to implement, we have built Quintiles Infosario as an end-to-end business platform that empowers our biopharma customers to manage data as we do – a strategic asset that enables fast, smart decision making, which accelerates drug development and significantly reduces operating costs,” Thomas said in a statement about the InformationWeek pick.

“It is a fantastic team effort over the long haul between functions such as business operations, IT and marketing, and we are delighted to receive this honor,” he added.

The magazine was impressed by Quintiles’ achievement.

“At first blush, pharmaceutical services market leader Quintiles might seem an odd company to offer cloud computing services. Quintiles manages clinical drug trials, training pharmaceutical salespeople and marketers, and providing consulting services to drug companies,” writes J. Nicholas Hoover in the magazine.

“But Quintiles was founded by biostatisticians, and its lifeblood is its more than 3 petabytes of data. There’s regulatory data, data on clinical trials, commercial data that can help assess a new drug’s potential, medical data, and more. CIO Richard Thomas calls IT Quintiles’ ‘nervous system,’ critical to any new product or service the company offers.

Read the full story here.

Other companies from the Triangle area and North Carolina making the list include”

• Intuit, which has a major operation in Cary, at No. 41.

• Pharmaceutical Product Development at No. 78

• IBM at No. 118

• Lowe’s at No. 193

SAS also made the list but didn’t crack the top 250.

Read the IT 500 report here.

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