Arbortext to Aid Life Sciences Industry

Initiative helps companies comply with regulations.

Arbortext Inc. is combining enhancements to its XML content delivery platform and tighter integration with key partners in an initiative aimed at a life sciences industry often hamstrung by massive, complex regulatory requirements.

The core component of the initiative will be Arbortexts Epic platform, which enables businesses to create, manage and publish XML content.

According to officials with the Ann Arbor, Mich., company, new features in the software will include change tracking to enable users to better keep up with changes made to various documents, as well as enhanced APIs, including support for ActiveX, a Microsoft Corp. technology that enables developers to embed objects in code.

There will be new security features, including digital signatures and watermarks, and tighter integration with Documentum Inc.s content management system.

In a related move, Arbortext announced plans to support Documentum 5, the next-generation enterprise content management system from the Pleasanton, Calif., company.

Consulting services will be offered via partners, including First Consulting Group Inc., of Long Beach, Calif., which makes IT products for the health care industry.

Most of the enhancements will be released in future updates of Epic, possibly as soon as next month, although there are some in the current version, 4.3, officials said. The goal is to help companies in an industry that needs to get its products to market but has to deal with many regulations surrounding such documents as new drug applications and product information, they said.

For example, by easing the documentation process via XML, the Epic software will enable pharmaceutical companies to comply more easily with regulations by offering a single source file from which they can produce manufacturing documents, package inserts, and labels and submissions to national or regional regulatory boards, officials said.

"The moves [Arbortext is] making in the pharmaceutical industry are fairly significant," said Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, in Cambridge, Mass. "They are applying this technology to solve some serious, heavy problems in pharmaceuticals. ... The whole drug discovery to product development to product release is a complicated, heavily regulated process that requires a ton of documentation."