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(457a) An Ontology-Based Information Management System for Pharmaceutical Product Development

Hailemariam, L., Purdue University
Zhao, C., Bayer Technology and Engineering (Shanghai) Co. Ltd
Whittinghill, D., Information Technology at Purdue
Jain, A., School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University
Reklaitis, G. V., Purdue University
Morris, K. R., Purdue University
Basu, P. K., Purdue University

The development of pharmaceutical products and processes involves laboratory scale, pilot plant scale and commercial scale manufacturing. Through these steps, data on synthesis routes, material properties, processing steps, and scale up parameters are collected and used for process and product development. Recent advances in process analytical technologies helped to provide a large volume of heterogeneous data , which requires a systematic model of the associated information for optimal use. In addition, software tools are used to support decision making and process modeling in product development. However, each tool has a specific form of information creation and use, leading to islands of automation which are difficult to connect, causing limited function sharing and decision support [1]. Thus, a representation of information models by a formal and well understood semantics [2] is required.

In this work, an integrated information management system based on structured information is presented. This system is built to explicitly specify important concepts like physical properties and experiments as well as unit operations and the product development decision-making exercise. To this end, ontologies for material properties, mathematical models and production route selection guidelines were developed. Based on the developed ontologies, an information access and repository system is developed to allow convenient access to the repository for both the user and software tools used in decision support. The infrastructure, designed to be accessable from the web, would allow simple search and browse as well as complicated queries which can only be possible through the presence of semantics in the information. This structure is extended to consider integration with software tools through the definition of an application-agnostic medium.

Such an integrated information infrastructure provides a systematic approach to managing, sharing and reusing information and knowledge, resulting in considerable reduction in pharmaceutical product development time, better quality assurance and makes possible a more streamlined regulatory process [3]. Software tools would be better able to access information and communicate amongst each other; hence the infrastructure could serve as a foundation for future product development.


1. Zhao, C., Bhushan M, Venkatasubramanian V. (2003). Roles of Ontology in Automated Process Safety Analysis, Proceedings of ESCAPE 13.

2. Schneider, R. and Marquardt, W., (2002), Information Technology Support in the chemical process design life cycle, Chemical Engineering Science 57 1763-1792

3. Holly F (2002), XML and Pharmaceuticals: Regulatory and non-regulatory applications, Proceedings of the XML Conference and Exposition Dec 8-13 Baltimore MD 1-8


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