Commercial software Phoenix WinNonlin is the most widely used NCA tool, and as such stands as the main reference tool. The typical use of WinNonlin is via a graphical user interface. Over the last years, a multitude of open-source NCA packages have become available, allowing to script such analyses and to post-process results according to the analyst’s needs. Unfortunately, most of these packages lack certain functionality, user-friendliness, adequate visualization of results, or simply a good documentation and continued development.
The goal for IntiQuan was to develop functionality in R, allowing to efficiently and reproducibly conduct script-based NCA on different types of input data, such as intravenous, bolus, and extravascular, absolute and relative (e.g., weight-based) dosing, and generating the typically required outputs in a tabular and graphical manner that are typically used in reports. Additionally, functionality for efficient reporting of NCA results to Microsoft Word was sought.
An agile approach to the development of such an NCA package was chosen. In the first step, the main underlying computational functionality for NCA was implemented, allowing to use an automatic selection of PK samples to consider for the terminal slope calculation but also allowing a modeler to select these points on an individual level. In a second step handling of input datasets was implemented, supporting the modeler in setting up datasets in a correct way. In the third step, functions were implemented to transform NCA results into report ready tabular and graphical representations. Several iterations over these steps were conducted on real NCA projects, including comparison of results with WinNonlin output, if it could be made available. As the IntiQuan NCA R package had matured enough, it was included into the IQR Tools R-package and a reporting function was developed that, using the IQR Tools interface to the IQReport software, allows to efficiently and seamlessly report an NCA result to Microsoft Word in a consistent and standard format. The IntiQuan NCA package and its documentation is continuously developed and improved as the need arises.
NCA can be conducted efficiently within the same environment as modeling analyses, allowing modelers an additional data diagnostic tool. High-quality, report-ready NCA results can be generated in a reproducible script-based manner. Standardized Microsoft Word reports containing the full NCA analysis results can be generated seamlessly and reproducibly without the need for any manual copy-paste approach.