Pfizer: Corporate-Wide Deployment of Modeling Technology

OVERVIEW

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was looking for a way to streamline and automate their modeling software.

For pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, modeling technology serves as the backbone for product design, testing, and improvement. Streamlining and integrating the modeling process and workflows is essential for maximum efficiency as well as for enabling practical access to these tools for non-experts.

The development of modeling technology in an organization is typically in the hands of a small sub-group of subject matter experts. Once these models are mature enough, a natural step is the deployment of such models for the general audiences, who will in turn use these models as tools to help execute their job responsibilities…

Dr. Salvador Garcia-Munoz

The Problem

Modeling technology in an organization is typically in the hands of a small sub-group of subject-matter experts, greatly limiting the total value to the organization. Pfizer needed a way to enable a more general audience to efficiently and safely utilize this technology.

The development of modeling technology in an organization is typically in the hands of a small sub-group of subject matter experts. Once these models are mature enough, a natural step is the deployment of such models for more general audiences, who will in turn use these models as a tool to help execute their job responsibilities. 

In the worst case, the deployment process for a model will involve training the end-user to manipulate the native tool in which the model was built (e.g. gPROMS, Aspen Plus, Dynochem, Fluent, MATLAB, Excel, etc). This training process can be challenging due to the diversity of end-users in a large corporation. This also implies the need to install the native tool on the end-users’ computers and the potential consumption of an expensive license for the rather simple “use of a model” rather than the more challenging “development of a model”. 

A slightly better approach involves the development of interfaces built using event-driven languages like Visual Basic.

But both of these scenarios involves many complexities:

  1. the establishment of a mechanism such that the end user has access to the latest version of the model, 
  2. the proper training of the user in the native tool, 
  3. the sub-optimal use of expensive licenses,
  4. the additional need of a framework to store/archive results from the use of the models, 
  5. the need to maintain ad-hoc interfaces, among others.

OUR SOLUTION

Using EASA, a host of requirements including web accessibility, security, ease of use, consistency, version control and auditability was met, and implemented in a rapid and codeless fashion.

Pfizer has selected a third option – a commercially available web-based solution (EASA) has been implemented. The EASA platform enables the corporate-wide deployment of our most valuable models, solving most of the complexities mentioned above. 

This initiative has also served as a trigger for the broader discussion from the business lines, as to where in the development cycle can (and should) these tools be applied, and to what level should decisions be made with the results from in-silico technology. 

Using EASA, Pfizer can create custom GUIs without any programming, for various modeling applications, from simple to complex multi-software workflows, providing:

  • Web-accessible models running with complete reliability throughout the IT infrastructure, including mobile devices
  • GUIs with a consistent look and feel, enhancing the ease of use and eliminating the need to be familiar with complex software codes
  • Complete security of the intellectual property embedded in software models
  • Full version control and automated audit trail of usage

THE RESULTS

EASA makes model deployment simple and robust; it enables the engagement of end-users via a portal of “self service” workflows that leverage existing modeling technology and expertise.

Widening the audiences that can now access complex computational solutions has also brought new challenges regarding data-transfer (especially at the interface between discovery and development). It has also sparked the dialog between different communities of “modelers” that have been doing very different types of “modeling” of some form or another and the need to establish a system that addresses the multiple needs of a very diverse community of subject-matter experts. 

This framework has also changed the way the subject-matter experts and the informatics personnel exchange information and respond to the needs of the end users. Our intention is to spark the debate about the different ways such a platform could potentially change the form we transfer or share knowledge from company-to-company, company-to-vendor, company-to-academia, and company-to-regulating agencies.

Benefits of Using EASA for Deploying Modeling Technology

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U.S. Patent Number 6,430,609. Copyright © 2005-2020 EASA INC. EASA® and the EASA logo are registered trademarks of EASA INC. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.