Major milestone in Unified Data Model project to promote life sciences collaboration

People standing in a lab in front of computer screens containing data to show Overcoming the challenges to making data FAIR in pharma

The Pistoia Alliance has announced a major milestone in Unified Data Model project to promote life sciences collaboration.

The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, has announced the latest release of its Unified Data Model (UDM) file format, v5.0 Brooklyn.

The project has developed significantly since its first release in June 2018, with the latest version now customisable by individual Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and software vendors.

The UDM format has been developed with the goal of it ultimately becoming an industry-wide standard under the stewardship of The Pistoia Alliance project team, with funding from Biovia, Elsevier, GSK, Novartis and Roche. The data exchange file format facilitates collaboration between researchers, organisations, and other stakeholders. Additionally, it advances the development of the digitally-driven Lab of the Future (LoTF) by standardising data to unlock its value as interoperable, customisable and analysable information.

The latest update of the UDM file format v5.0 Brooklyn includes new representation of reaction conditions and new vendor extension options allowing them to customise parts of the file format; this overcomes the existing barrier to data exchange that vendor-specific ELNs cause, by instead making data interoperable and shareable. The implementation of the UDM format provides a number of other benefits for life sciences organisations and vendors, such as more accessible data and a reduction in duplicate data. As well as accelerating research and reducing the time and cost taken to convert data, the new format will help ensure a consistency and quality of data which is necessary to support AI and machine learning efforts, as well as offering standards that will be invaluable in the development of Lab of the Future.

“The UDM is the perfect example of the type of project The Pistoia Alliance was formed to work on,” commented Dr Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance. “The project is a direct response to the data challenges our members are facing and has been developed by an impressive team for the benefit of the entire industry. We are pleased to see some important names in the life sciences world come together to work on this project. Standards like the UDM are vital to advancing R&D and will also underpin future research – especially where we see increased adoption of AI, and machine and deep learning, which are reliant on high quality data. We now urge life sciences companies to explore how they can adopt the UDM in their organization and support greater collaboration – helping the industry to develop new, life-saving treatments for patients.”

“This new release of UDM offers improved representation and validation of reaction data,” commented Dr Roman Affentranger, Head of Small Molecule Discovery Informatics at Roche, and UDM Project Champion. “Widespread adoption of the UDM standard has the potential to improve collaboration and data exchange across the entire life science industry.”