Bristol-Myers Squibb outsources network duties to British Telecom

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Drugmakers are leaning on outsourcing groups to pick up the slack as they narrow their focus to bringing new drugs to market. U.S. drug powerhouse Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), no stranger to outsourcing, has inked an agreement to keep services giant British Telecommunications (BT) as its network services manager through 2017, BT announced Thursday.

BT said the contract extension, which follows its initial 2005 deal with the drugmaker, covers Bristol-Myers' wide area and local area networks as well as telephony infrastructure for all of the drugmaker's sites around the world. No financial details of the agreement were revealed in the release. The agreement comes as pharma companies aim to better integrate communications within their increasingly global operations, with business activities in China and other emerging markets becoming a major emphasis for commercial growth and R&D.

Drugmakers are looking to outsource IT as a way to keep their operations focused on their core areas of expertise such as developing and marketing medicines. Some pharma companies such as Pfizer ($PFE) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) are also outsourcing larger chunks of development work to CROs in recent years. On the IT side, London-based drug giant AstraZeneca ($AZN) shipped more work late last year to IT outsourcing heavyweight Cognizant, which has been providing global tech support to AZ since 2008.

"The partnership we have built with BT is based on our confidence in their global operational capabilities and their ability to flex with our changing needs," Rick Yborra, vice president, network and hosting services at BMS, said in a statement. "BT provides us with the type of world-class network that is necessary for a global BioPharma company to operate effectively."

- here's the release

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