Control Reputational Risk for Big Pharma

We were contacted when a major pharma with a drug for flu pandemics had a problem.

They have a duty to collect data on adverse events such as headaches or nausea.  A pandemic means adverse events will come in at very large scale and the events reporting system must cope.

They had a fixed deadline and knew their current system would not scale if the anticipated pandemic arrived.


Akriga deliver a solution that works at pandemic scale


Top 10 global pharmaceutical company


Interpersonal skills, Java programming, IBM Websphere, Unix, web development


As web developers this is the background to the development task:

  • A predicted Pandemic looming.
  • Pharmacovigilence (adverse events) reporting is required.
  • Budget not an issue but deadline immovable; multi-million dollar brand equity at stake.
  • Based on concerns about very high traffic a last minute change from Windows to Unix hosting is called for.
  • Complex hosting infrastructure, not a typical LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) setup. Infrastructure maintenance has been outsourced and is not well understood by the client.
  • Outsourced hosting company unwilling & unable to help and are several time-zones away.
  • No in-house capability available to take this challenge on.


  • Build a copy of the hosting environment: Unix, IBM WebSphere Application Server deploying Java code. (N.B. IBM calls its webserver IHS Internet Http Server and it is based on Apache 2.0 with some additional patches & the ability to work with the WebSphere administrative console).
  • Understand political/management environment as well as technical one.
  • Negotiate, build alliances, find showstoppers.
  • Write & deploy Java servlet code via corporate release procedures, across different timezones. Release process involves a VPN, FTP, & bash scripts started via SSH.
  • Pass corporate security test; 10 000 known exploits unleashed on our code.
  • Pass the test, hit the deadline.


  • Company complies with its pharmacovigilence obligations
  • Risk to the brand is controlled
  • Management time freed up to work on other tasks
  • We were invited back to build a wiki for the global marketing team – amongst other projects.

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