BT has launched a new cloud service dedicated to scientists working in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

The aim of the service is to help reduce the costs of research and development (R&D) involved with bringing new drugs to market.

According to BT, the Life Sciences R&D cloud is a secure and segregated platform that allows scientists to carry out computer model-based testing of new drugs, and collaborate on a global basis using social media tools.

Researchers will be able to upload documents to the platform, share results and communicate with each other via voice, video or instant messaging (IM). Using BT Assure security services, they will also be able to design data encryption and data anonymisation policies to meet regulatory requirements for using a cloud environment.

In addition, the service uses hardware components, workflows and applications specific to the pharmaceutical industry.

BT has partnered with Accelrys, a scientific enterprise R&D software and services company, to provide the latter organisation's scientific applications through the cloud service. Furthermore, Accelrys's customers will be able to use the cloud, which will initially be based on BT's On Demand Compute service.

Dr Matt Hahn, senior VP and chief technology officer (CTO) at Accelrys, said that a secure cloud platform dedicated to the life sciences industry will help to address the collaboration and cost pressures that pharmaceutical and biotech organisations face.

"Combining the scientifically aware Accelyrs Enterprise Platform and BT's robust cloud offering enables our customers to quickly analyse and share data using Pipeline Pilot, Symyx Notebook by Accelrys, Isentris and other Accelrys software to improve collaboration, lower costs and accelerate time to market," he said.