Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline chooses Tier 2

GSK’s key objective was to create a searchable repository of compounds, including details of studies performed and potential genotoxic hazards. In addition, structural information (with the associated graphical representation) was recorded, providing the ability to complete searches at a molecular structure level. The project was delivered using our quality project approach based on industry standard project management analysis and design techniques.

Project Definition
With GSK, the first step was to ensure that the requirement was adequately defined at a high level. To do this, we completed an initial scoping analysis which defined the high-level requirements of the system, analysed the current technical infrastructure at GSK and made recommendations on the choice of implementation platform. This document also outlined the proposed future project phases. The scoping document was a major input into a detailed technical design exercise. This stage was crucial in identifying which component pieces of functionality required bespoke development, and which could be delivered using existing software. In some cases, we took advantage of software already available within GSK, e.g. Daylight cartridge and tool kit to provide substructure searching; in other cases, software was commercially available to provide the required functionality, such as Chemsymphony’s MOL Viewer. The ability to integrate with legacy systems and data sources, and the ‘build vs buy’ choices are key advantages of the Java platform.

Design &Development

During the Construction phase, these components were then easily integrated into the central core of the Java application server alongside the bespoke elements of the application (data capture, search functionality, import/export and report generation). GETIT has now had several major releases over the last few years, culminating in the release of GETIT version 3 in August 2003.

Support & Maintenance

Tier 2 currently provides a service-level based Support and Maintenance service to GSK.

Technology Platform

The application is designed as a Java forms front-end which can be accessed by anyone within the GSK network on any site. This front end accesses re-usable business logic which resides on a central web/application server (Novell exteNd™ Application Server). GSK’s corporate Oracle database is used for data storage and retrieval. The main programming language used was Java and most of the data integration and import routines handle data exchange in XML format. GETIT also makes use of a COM layer to call commands within MS Word for report generation. In addition, some Excel VBA programming was done to allow assay result data in Excel spreadsheet format to be parsed into XML and imported into Oracle.

Major requirements included:

· Import detailed assay results from MS Excel spreadsheets

· Perform complex, cross-referenced searches on compound data, assay results and potential toxicology hazards

· Perform chemicallyaware searches on compounds’ molecular structures

· Produce analysis reports as MS Word documents

· Display graphical representation of compound structures

· Import molecular data from MDL applications in industry standard MOL and SDF file format, and toxicology hazard data from LHASA’s Deductive Risk database (DEREK)

· Export compound data in a variety of formats, including MOL and SDF



The successful implementation of each phase of this application over 4 years demonstrates Tier 2’s ability to consistently deliver highly quality, business critical web applications. Starting with only a high level business requirement, Tier 2 staff not only assimilated highly complex business requirements, but used those requirements to identify a flexible and adaptable technology platform. Specifically, the Novell exteNd™ Application Server provides the foundation for highly scalable and secure applications, which can be tightly integrated with 3rd party tools and applications. Finally, the success of the GETIT application demonstrates the importance of Tier 2’s total project approach – the application is currently being supported to tightly defined levels of service. Such applications, that not only match customer requirements, but that are also highly configurable, scalable, robust and maintainable, can only be delivered, time and time again, by applying the correct People, Technology and Approach.