Compound and Biosample Management IT issues, Troubleshooting Guide

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Successful compound management and biological sample management stand as key enablers within the drug discovery process. Computerized inventory systems and sample cataloguing make the use of IT equipment and fluid collaboration between hardware and software critical to both divisions. However, various systems in the pharma industry can speak in conflicting languages which complicates communication and data exchange in various verticals including in compound and biosample management. Various organisations have arisen to help standardise and champion interoperability through setting criteria.

Compounds of a high integrity contribute to reliable results when locating drug candidates. Compound rejections are said to have been lowered in number through the use of automation within compound management processes and high throughput screening. In a recent report Kalorama Information added: “With the high cost of bringing a drug to market, lab automation streamlines drug discovery and research labs’ processes, eliminates downstream bottlenecks and speeds target identification and screening. The need to undertake large-scale assays cost effectively makes automation a fundamental requirement in biomedical research as well as drug discovery.” The global lab automation market is projected to reach $5.052 million by 2020, with compound management standing as a segment of this market. Lab automation is seen as a key way to return both time and money to compound management departments. Therefore, having sufficient automation technologies to handle and preserve the quality of samples and provide timely access to samples are at the heart of compound management.

According to the Global Biobanking Market Report “….automating biobanking workflow will benefit biobanks by maintaining integrity and quality in longterm samples, minimising manual errors, improving the workflow efficiency, and enabling long-term costeffectiveness. “Automation minimises manual errors such as mislabeling or inaccurate  samplebarcoding and improves the technical efficiency. Further, it plays a vital role in blood fractionation, DNAextraction, labeling, and capping techniques.” 

IT failures have the power to incur large financial costs and productivity costs. Work could be jeopardised when compounds or biological samples can’t be retrieved when needed for experiments or screens that have taken up a lot of preparation time.

In our 2016 Activity tracker report, automation was seen as a priority and an investment must. Compound management respondents stated that system maintenance & automation stood as predominant challenges for them to tackle. Just over 30% of the compound management and biobanking respondent bases stated that automation, robotics, new tech and new system upgrades were on the cards for 2016.

Innovation and next generation software and technologies are perceived as big topics faced by the industry at the moment with some firms evaluating their strategies and the potential impact on workflows and processes which are vital to the operation of automation. Keeping up with the market’s evolution is seen as the most prevalent reason to seek and achieve next generation innovation within compound management. On this subject Marybeth Burton, Director, Discovery Compound Management Merck Research Laboratories said: “It’s critical, in my estimation, for enabling proactive management of compounds in the drug discovery arena, and it’s very important to enable agility and flexibility so that you can [stay] current with evolving stakeholder needs.” Limited budgets can mean that needed upgrades or replacements for aging compound  and biosample IT systems can’t occur as quickly as hoped. As market practices advance, companies are faced with different options from outsourcing to investing in new technologies in order to maintain momentum.

However, the balance between the mounting pressure to control costs in drug discovery with maintaining production rates, efficiently coordinating comprehensive libraries and working out how best to store them: remains a complex task for the industry as collections expand. Cost scrutiny has called for better decision making with  nvestment spend especially with IT systems.

Download this troubleshooting guide to explore the important aspects to consider with compound and biosample management  IT issues. 

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