Five vendors seize 7-year SISTIR pact

The Food and Drug Administration this month awarded a $200 million contract to five vendors that will provide the agency with nearly all its information technology needs into the next century.

The seven-year Strategic Information Systems Technical Integration Resources (SISTIR) contract was awarded to Battelle Memorial Institute BDM International Inc. Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. PSI International Inc. and SRA International Inc. according to industry sources. Most of the vendors have ties to the FDA through prime or subcontracts.

As of early last week the FDA had not yet formerly announced the awards and FDA officials did not return phone calls to verify the winners.

SISTIR is one of the largest IT contracts - in value and scope - at the FDA. It is also the agency's first multiple-award indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract awarded said Bernie Cohen director of business development at SRA.

The five vendors will provide the FDA which approves drugs and medical devices with just about every IT application to modernize the agency. The FDA also will be able to manage more efficiently its enormous amounts of data on new and existing drugs and make that data more accessible to the public.

'Increasing Demand'

"There's an increasing demand for the information that the FDA provides because there are so many more products that are coming out that they are testing and evaluating as well as keeping up with information on existing drugs " said Julie Switzer a research analyst at Federal Sources Inc. a market research firm in McLean Va. "A big part of this effort is going to be to help process and track information and make it accessible to field components health organizations nationwide and worldwide and academia."

SISTIR combines two previously separate IT contracts: the Strategic Information System (SIS) contract and the Submission Management and Review Tracking (SMART) system. SIS a $27 million pact awarded to Booz-Allen in 1994 supports administrative systems at FDA centers. SMART a $17 million pact awarded to SRA in 1994 was designed to automate and accelerate the FDA's drug-review process.

SRA's ceiling on the SISTIR contract is $195 million. Cohen said SISTIR is of "high strategic importance" to SRA. Computer Sciences Corp. is among SRA's subcontractors.

Booz-Allen is teamed with Science Applications International Corp.

BDM is teaming with Quintiles Inc. a Bethesda Md. company that has prime contract work at the FDA.Battelle is teaming with companies that include Unisys Corp. and Vitro a subsidiary of Tracor Inc.

PSI a sub to SRA on SMART struck out on its own for SISTIR. Elizabeth Pan PSI's chief executive officer said the win "is very encouraging to us and to other companies similar to our size.

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