Get To Know Barry Crist 5

Barry Crist is the Lead Investigator for the Lilly Clinical Open Innovation Team. Barry has spent his career leveraging information to transform the way people do work.  He is a technologist, an architect, a seeker, a problem solver – and has a passion-fueled vision that drives a unique ability to make big ideas come to life. 

What personally drew you to the Lilly Clinical Open Innovation project?

Taking information or knowledge and making it useful has been my whole career – making information better so that people’s lives will be better. I’ve seen it work.

For many years, I worked at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.  This is a 300 square-mile facility with multiple nuclear reactors and chemical processing facilities.  It was my job to digitize half a million paper engineering drawings (blueprints, essentially) and make them smarter.  This gave engineers and scientists immediate access to digitized knowledge about the massive facilities – where is a valve, what’s connected to a panel.  You can imagine why that’s important.

Prior to that, people had to request the prints, search through them…it took a long time to get the job done.

In pharma development, the “drawings” are the clinical trials. In their current state, they’re a big pile of poorly digitized, unstructured, disconnected papers, files and databases.  If the end at Eli Lilly is, “Let’s develop products that make people’s lives better and improve their health,” then the means to that end, for me, is to develop those products faster and better. And we can do that – if we manage the knowledge better. And managing the knowledge better, as I learned at the DOE, starts with digitization.

A Chat With Tom Krohn 9

Tom Krohn is the Business Lead for the Lilly Clinical Open Innovation Team. Tom’s career began as a practicing pharmacist.

His experiences in building and eventually serving as GM of the largest healthcare organization in Madagascar shaped his frame of reference, as he realized that healthcare was not only about delivering much-needed treatment and medicine, but also about logistics, business models, and the accessibility of information.

In this interview, Tom tells us the story of how his “personal passion and commitment to use my talents to serve the marginalized of society” was shaped over time – and how this passion can be realized through his work in clinical open innovation.

You have a varied and interesting background: You’ve been a pharmacist, a CFO then GM for the largest healthcare organization in Madagascar, you have experience in an IT organization… How did that evolution happen?

The experience in Madagascar showed me a lot about what information systems and appropriate uses of technology could do for healthcare – both to help get things done and, especially, to empower the people doing the work.

World TB Day 1

March 24 is World TB Day. Tuberculosis is a disease that we only hear about occasionally, yet according to the Bill & Gates Foundation, every 20 seconds someone dies from TB. And, it’s getting worse. Resistance to standard treatments is growing and is spreading globally. Its impact on patients and communities is devastating, as powerfully captured by photojournalist James Nachtwey available on

But there is hope.

Join us in saluting the efforts of international collaboration to accelerate new regimens of TB medicine and vaccines. The new drug pipeline looks promising and collaborative efforts such as Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens are leading the way for new combination research. More…