Solving life sciences content management challenges

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When you’re under pressure to bring new therapies to market faster, you can’t let data silos slow you down. You need a centralized life sciences content management system for seamless data access, collaboration, and compliance that lets you focus on what matters — sound research and development (R&D) that saves lives.

In this blog, we look at the top challenges of biotech and pharmaceutical content management and how to leverage the cloud in life sciences to break down silos and accelerate scientific innovation.

What is life sciences content management?

Life sciences content management is the systematic organization, storage, retrieval, and secure handling of information related to biological research, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. It’s important for data accessibility, compliance, and collaboration, which impact research, patient care, and regulatory requirements. Here’s why.

Researchers collect more data than ever

Scientific advancements such as high-throughput screening (HTS) have added even more complexity to drug discovery workflows. A massive amount of data is generated in tests to identify specific molecules, proteins, genes, or biological pathways associated with a particular disease or condition. Also, as part of R&D workflows, drug candidates undergo extensive testing to guarantee their efficiency and safety, resulting in even more data for scientists to store, process, and analyze.

Life sciences research increasingly relies on collaboration

Knowledge sharing helps bring drugs to market faster. However, if you have disparate repositories, cross-functional teams lose time trying to find the data they need.

And the challenges don’t stop there, as a lack of standardized formats leads to inconsistency and difficulties in aggregating information. In fact, about two-thirds of respondents of the 2022 State of Digital Lab Transformation study said they had trouble accessing data – with scientists having to wait from one hour to more than one day to get hold of the data they needed for analysis. This inefficiency lowers productivity, hinders collaboration, and lengthens R&D timelines.

66% of scientists report trouble with data access for analysis

The life sciences industry operates within a framework of extensive and stringent regulations to ensure the safety and efficacy of products and treatments developed in this field. No wonder PhRMA statistics indicate that only 12% of new molecular entities that enter clinical trials eventually receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The complexity and the scope of regulations pose compliance challenges, calling for increased security measures and comprehensive audit checks. The data generated during research, clinical trials, and manufacturing processes must be protected to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information while also allowing authorized personnel to access it efficiently.

The life sciences industry experiences one of the highest data breach costs

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are a prime target for cyberattacks due to the significant value of their intellectual property, including research data, proprietary formulas, and clinical trial results. A breach could lead to financial losses, legal repercussions, reputational damage, and public health concerns. What’s more, pharmaceutical and biomedical life sciences data breaches cost $4.82 million on average — and rank third highest across industries (behind only healthcare and finance).

Read our guide on the latest trends in the life sciences industry.

Understanding the top challenges of content management in life sciences

top challenges of content management in life sciences

Let’s review the top content management challenges in life sciences:


ChallengeDescriptionSolution
Data volume and storage scalabilityLife sciences generate vast amounts of data, which require scalable storage to accommodate the volumeImplement cloud-based solutions and scalable infrastructure to handle large datasets efficiently
Unstructured dataR&D data often comes in unstructured formats, making it challenging to organize, search, and analyze effectivelyUse artificial intelligence and content management tools to classify and extract valuable insights from unstructured data
Data quality and accuracyScientific endeavor requires accurate and reliable information for sound R&D and public safetyEmploy validation processes and automation to minimize human errors and guarantee data integrity
Interoperability and data silosLack of standardization and compatibility between different data formats, plus information scattered across various sources and databases, leads to silosAdopt standardized formats, leverage data integration tools, and centralize your content management systems to break down silos and promote collaboration
Data securityLife sciences data is highly sensitive and must be protected from cyber threats and unauthorized accessAdopt robust cybersecurity measures, including encryption, access controls, and regular audits
Regulatory complianceThe sector is heavily regulated to ensure sensitive data remains secure, as well as the safety and efficacy of therapies and devicesFollow industry-specific regulations and standards, while also maintaining detailed audit trails and documentation


Learn how to eliminate silos across your scientific content workflows. Download our Cloud Content Management for Life Sciences ebook.

How to improve content management in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry

If you’re looking for ways to revamp your content management systems in life sciences, consider these measures.

1. Centralize your content in the cloud

With a centralized platform to store, share, and access all your content, your team knows where to find files quickly. By leveraging enterprise cloud storage solutions, researchers, scientists, and stakeholders access critical information from anywhere in the world, fostering seamless collaboration across geographically dispersed teams and research centers.

The cloud also provides a scalable storage infrastructure to accommodate the increasing volume of research and clinical data. When it comes to cloud migration, McKinsey reports that Fortune 500 pharma and medtech companies stand to gain, on average, about $25 billion to $30 billion in improved 2030 EBITDA run rates from business innovation. By transitioning your clinical trial management from paper-based and in-person to digital and remote, you’re able to cut down costs and accelerate time to market.

2. Leverage enterprise-grade security and compliance

Encryption, access controls, and regular security audits are foundational to a comprehensive security strategy in life sciences.

  • With a centralized, secure vault for your content, you establish sharing roles, link expiration, ethical walls, and more
  • With the use of machine learning models and artificial intelligence tools for native data loss protection (DLP) and cyber threat detection, you proactively mitigate cyber risks
  • With cloud backup and disaster recovery capabilities, you ensure research findings and intellectual property remain safe and accessible

Equally important is the adherence to stringent compliance standards, such as GxP for pharmaceutical companies. If your enterprise content management system offers GxP dashboards and GAMP5-validation templates designed specifically for cloud solutions, you simplify compliance while saving on validation costs.

3. Automate your R&D content workflows

Digital workflow automation reduces repetitive and manual tasks that are prone to human errors. By accelerating the process of exchanging, reviewing, and approving clinical documents, you speed up your R&D timelines.

Take the example of biopharma companies that often partner with contract research organizations (CROs) for clinical trials and pharmacokinetics studies, generating extensive documentation. With automated content management, you enable a seamless exchange of data between pharmaceutical firms and CROs, ensuring that information flows smoothly while maintaining data integrity and security.

By automating data transfer, patient record verification, validation, and reporting processes, the R&D lifecycle becomes more efficient, minimizing errors and accelerating the development timeline.

Secure life sciences data management with Box

With Box for life sciences, you streamline collaboration, innovate faster, and stay compliant. The Content Cloud provides a secure source of truth for all your R&D data.

We help you overcome common life sciences content management challenges by centralizing your data on an all-inclusive platform for creating, storing, sharing, and collaborating. This way, you eliminate inefficient content silos between multiple data repositories and share information faster with CROs and other external teams.

We simplify compliance, too. Our GxP Validation enables life sciences companies to validate Box so they work with, manage, and distribute all of their non-regulated and regulated content — including clinical and lab data. With enterprise-grade security, you don’t have to worry about breaches. We leverage granular permissions, zero trust security, AES 256-bit encryption, and much more to make sure your most sensitive data is safe.

By removing the hurdles of content management in life sciences, you’re able to focus on scientific innovation. Contact us, and let’s explore all you can do with Box-powered clinical collaboration.

Power seamless R&D collaboration with Box

**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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