Life Science Glossary

Welcome to the Apprentice Life Science Glossary, where we walk through scientific terminology from A to Z. Here, you'll find a one-stop shop where you can learn new terms, compare related terms, and see how they all fit together.

Glossary Items Beginning with A

AI manufacturing harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate complex processes, complete tasks, and develop products. There are various benefits to leveraging AI manufacturing, including less downtime, reduced costs, and greater operational efficiencies.

Augmented reality (AR) integrates digital information with a user’s physical environment. AR layers text, videos, photos, and holographs onto a user’s real-world view. As such, it brings the physical and digital worlds together — without the user losing sight of their actual reality.

Glossary Items Beginning with B

Batch manufacturing is a step-by-step batch production method that allows companies to complete multiple unit operations at once, either in parallel or sequentially. This method captures all the needed equipment, materials, resources, and data that goes into making a product.

A batch record (BR) is the documented execution detail of the manufacturing process of a regulated product, including authors, steps, materials, and equipment. Batch records are required for the manufacture of drugs and medical devices in life science manufacturing.

Glossary Items Beginning with C

In drug production, clinical manufacturing is the process of manufacturing drugs to support clinical studies on human subjects. These studies answer questions about the safety and efficacy of drugs and procedures, to determine if they should be commercialized and manufactured at scale.

Cloud SaaS is a solution that is hosted entirely online, in the public cloud. The program and any associated data are accessible from anywhere, so long as there’s an internet connection. Cloud software solutions are subscription based, and tiered depending on user needs.

Cloud software, also known as cloud SaaS or cloud software as a service, is a solution hosted online in the public cloud. These programs are accessible from any device with an internet connection, including phones, tablets, computers, and even TVs depending on the nature of the software.

A cloud-based MES is a software as a service (SaaS) solution that uses cloud technology to optimize manufacturing execution systems. Cloud-based MES system over the internet in a hosted cloud, and provide users with access to real-time data (available on demand).

As its name suggests, commercial manufacturing is a stage of drug production whereby approved therapies are commercialized — meaning they’re manufactured at scale, marketed to consumers and healthcare organizations, and sold according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Glossary Items Beginning with D

Digital manufacturing (DM) uses interactive computer-based technology to streamline manufacturing processes. It connects systems across every production stage, consolidating all processes into one main computer database to create a “digital thread” of events for heightened visibility.

Digital transformation is the process of leveraging digital technologies to streamline operations, increase efficiencies, and improve systems and processes. Examples of digital transformation include mobile banking apps, chatbots, and 3D printing for manufacturing.

Digital work instructions are electronic versions of work instructions, and may include rich visual images, videos, diagrams, and augmented and/or mixed reality experiences for real-time guidance. Their purpose is to provide a step-by-step framework to successfully complete tasks.

Glossary Items Beginning with E

Glossary Items Beginning with G

Glossary Items Beginning with H

The hybrid cloud combines privately stored data with the public cloud. Information is shared between these environments and applications are run in parallel for an organization. This approach enables companies to get the best of both worlds in both visibility and flexibility.

Hybrid infrastructure is defined as an infrastructure made of on-premise data centers, private clouds, and/or public clouds. It uses hybrid IT infrastructure or cloud infrastructure services to manage, maintain, and monitor the entire IT infrastructure within an organization.

Glossary Items Beginning with I

The internet of things (IoT) is a system of interconnected systems including sensors, machines, and digital and computing devices that allow for an instantaneous exchange of information. IoT examples include smartphones, smart appliances, security systems, and more.

Glossary Items Beginning with L

Sometimes called “dark factories,” lights-out manufacturing is a fully automated process that produces products with little to no human intervention. In this production model, robots take care of day-to-day operations with appropriate monitoring in place to alert humans as needed.

Glossary Items Beginning with M

An MES in pharma is a digital solution that tracks and documents the batch manufacturing process. These solutions are designed to lower costs, increase productivity, accelerate batch release, provide traceability, reduce training time, and maintain regulatory compliance.

MES software, also known as a manufacturing execution system (MES), digitally tracks and monitors manufacturing processes from start to finish. Various industries rely on MES solutions to optimize production, including automotive, food and beverage, and electronics.

Mixed reality (MR) blends physical and digital worlds together, enabling users to simultaneously interact with both real-world and virtual environments and objects. Industries that use MR technology include education, entertainment, defense, healthcare, and pharma.

Glossary Items Beginning with O

On-premise software lives onsite and requires dedicated hardware, installation, and IT support before it can be utilized. Unlike SaaS solutions which bake support into the cost, on-premise software users typically incur additional costs for maintenance and support.

Glossary Items Beginning with P

Pharma 4.0, adapted from Industry 4.0, refers to the convergence of people, systems, and data within one singular network. This term was originally coined by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers, and it represents a new era of digital transformation.

Preclinical development aims to determine safe dosages and processes for medical treatments, drugs, or pharmaceutical procedures. Preclinical development is a four-part process that happens after preclinical animal studies are complete, and before human trials start.

The private cloud is a digital environment that is dedicated to one customer. Private cloud storage is highly secure, which is why many organizations that need to adhere to strict regulations opt to leverage the private cloud over the public cloud.

The public cloud is a cloud-computing IT environment, hosted by a third-party, where software solutions and applications are available to organizations and individuals on the public internet. The costs of public cloud storage range from free to subscription or usage based.

Glossary Items Beginning with Q

Quality assurance (QA) is a validation process put in place to objectively evaluate a product or process against applicable standards, procedures, and expected results. The goal of QA is to ensure products and services meet stringent quality standards for safety and efficacy.

Quality control (QC) is a division of a pharmaceutical company that is legally responsible for ensuring that their company complies with regulatory requirements. QC teams ensure that products will work as intended by confirming that they are safe, effective, and error-free.

Glossary Items Beginning with S

Glossary Items Beginning with V

Virtual reality (VR) is a full immersion into a simulated 3D environment. In this setting, users can interact with a completely virtual world through headsets, glasses, or other devices. Though commonly associated with gaming, VR carries a purpose far beyond entertainment alone.