The life science industries (including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and consumer goods) are exploring new business models for research and development that focus on external partnerships. In parallel, there is a desire to make better use of data obtained from sources such as human clinical samples to inform and support early research programmes. Success in both areas depends upon the successful integration of heterogeneous data from multiple providers and scientific domains, something that is already a major challenge within the industry. This issue is exacerbated by the absence of agreed standards that unambiguously identify the entities, processes and observations within experimental results. In this article we highlight the risks to future productivity that are associated with incomplete biological and chemical vocabularies and suggest a new model to address this long-standing issue.
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