Advancements in Laboratory Informatics to Increase R&D Productivity

Pharma IQ

The pharmaceutical industry is constantly striving to discover more efficient and cost effective ways to bring its products to market. As a result many pharmaceutical companies are adopting data and knowledge management solutions, such as ELNs and LIMS to deal with large amounts of data to be analysed. 

As a report by Ovum entitled Back to the Lab! Improving R&D Productivity and Efficiency with LIMS and ELNs, noted earlier this year laboratory informatics offer "many tangible and intangible benefits, such as increased R&D productivity and efficiency, enhanced data and knowledge sharing, reduced risk, and adherence to regulatory compliance."

However, the report adds, these benefits can only be realised if developers partner with other vendors to increase competencies in what is becoming a key area within electronic lab equipment.

Boosting interoperability and standardisation

Waters Corporation is among those looking to address the challenges presented by the integration of new technology within existing laboratory environments.

Launching the companies new Waters® Empower™ 3 Chromatography Data System (CDS), Dr. Rohit Khanna, vice president of marketing for Waters division, said: "One of the most important challenges laboratory scientists and information technology managers face today is the need for data management standardisation."

The "scalable, enterprise-wide CDS platform" is designed to integrate with any existing corporate infrastructure, allowing for data standardisation, which the company says brings benefits in terms of a reduction in training and fewer resources being needed from working on a single platform.

In addition, Waters said the system allows for greater international communications and information exchange, as well as more consistent regulatory compliance.

"Many of our customers are forced to support multiple laboratory software and informatics platforms amongst their many labs. This lack of consistency is often traced to a merger or acquisition, or perhaps legacy systems from multiple manufacturing and R&D sites.  

"Regardless of the reason, these companies suffer from inefficiencies that directly affect their bottom line," Khanna added.

Labtronics has also been working on enhancing the sharing of lab data, through a new connector that allows for the transfer of information between the Agilent ChemStation CDS and Labtronics' Nexxis Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN). The system allows for the collection of information on a single worksheet.

Robert Pavlis, president of Labtronics, said: "For the lab to gain maximum benefits from either system [CDS and ELN], they need to be connected together so that each system enhances the value of the other."

Paperless lab

Pharma and healthcare data management firm IDBS and AIT Bioscience, a bio analytical contract research organisation (CRO), recently collaborated to create a paperless bio analysis lab using a "fully electronic laboratory notebook system".

The company said it selected the ELN system to allow for the swift reporting of results to clients, at a reduced cost,  which will allow it to remain as a competitive player within the CRO industry, a particular concern as more pharmaceutical companies look to emerging markets for cheaper clinical trials.

Ronald Shoup, Ph.D., executive director of AIT Bioscience, commented: "We adopted E-WorkBook to take advantage of the latest information technologies which could support our goal to provide bioanalytical preclinical and clinical study data at a faster pace, with higher quality and at higher efficiency."

Delivery time for reports is said to have decreased from four to six weeks from when the last data was received, using a paper or combination system, to between seven and 14 days – decreasing labour costs.

Further to this, AIT Bioscience, said the system aids in meeting increasingly complex regulatory requirements, allowing data to be easily reanalysed years after the initial resubmission.

Neil Kipling, founder and chief executive of IDBS, said: "Based on our broad domain understanding, IDBS recognises that CROs adopting strong internal informatics solutions have greater internal effectiveness and improved customer satisfaction."