Introduction – Computer-Aided Applications in Pharmaceutical Technology


There is an ever-growing need for an increase in the knowledge of products and processes in pharmaceutical technology. From the point of view of product development, to the issues relating to product registration, science is becoming increasingly implemented in the field of pharmaceutics. Some of the modern concepts, such as quality-by-design, are urging all stakeholders to become aware of the necessity to collect more data on products and processes and to analyze them accurately in order to gain useful knowledge. Analysis of the data is a crucial part of successful product and process development and improvement. Most data analysis methods nowadays involve the use of computers, that is, various in silico tools. Some researchers and regulatory representatives may be skeptical in the application of these tools, since they may have not become familiar with them during their formal education or they find them to be complicated and cumbersome to use without a technical or engineering background. But this should not discourage any potential implementation of computer-aided applications in pharmaceutical technology. Today's technology offers many ways and opportunities to advance in multidisciplinary fields. This book serves to provide some useful information on the background of various computer-aided tools, as well as illustrative examples of their application in pharmaceutical technology. Methods such as experimental design, multivariate analysis (chemometric tools), neural computing (artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, decision trees, evolutionary computing, genetic algorithms, self-organizing maps), computer-aided biopharmaceutical classification, and computational fluid dynamics are presented. It is by no means meant to be the ultimate list of tools, and we have mainly focused on those tools that our research group is familiar with and is experienced in their application. Furthermore, theoretical parts are condensed to provide the necessary insight into the specific tool and the reader is advised to consult the relevant textbooks in the field if needed. The main focus is on the application of computer- aided tools in pharmaceutical technology. We hope that this book will serve as both the starting point and the reference for beginners and more experienced users of in silico applications. Also, we encourage the reader to implement more than one tool at a time in their projects, since each of the tools brings specific insight and knowledge of the product and/or process studied. Apart from chapters dedicated to specific tools, at the end of the book we have provided a list that includes some of the open- source and commercial software packages that have been used in this field. We strongly hope that the reader will become motivated and inspired to make further progress and further investigations in this field.