Considerations for Biotechnology Lab Management Software
Biotech's, especially young biotech's, are typically a greenfield that can avoid the mistakes that big pharma has made because they have no legacy systems or data, which means they can take a clean sheet approach to the digitalization of their organization.
As this page's topic is around biotechnology lab management software, one may think that is one area to take advantage of this situation and buy a solution that addresses the needs of the lab and nothing else, but as we will outline in this document, this will only lead you down the path of the legacy pharma's that will ensnare you in having silos of data and erode your organizations efficiency.
So now you have the great opportunity to start with modern lab management system, but where to begin? There are many options on the LIMS market as a simple google search on LIMS system or LIMS software will show, but as you will see the ideal solution has much broader capabilities and the solutions in that category are far fewer.
Research And Science Laboratory
The R&D function is the lifeblood of a biotech, and one of the primary supporting assets of the Research and Development functions is lab processing data. This is primarily related to assays run on Samples and the associated data including analytics. The lab function exists to support these scientific efforts and therefore it is critical that the lab uses software that enables all the following:
- Materials inventory tracking of all items supporting the sciences such as biological samples, compounds, larger molecules, etc.
- Process tracking of lab processes so rigorous protocols are followed to ensure quality results
- Request management so scientists can easily submit processing requests and see progress and results as soon as they are available
- Integrated dashboards and analytics
- Permissions controls for data, workflow template and product functions controls
There are many more features that could be listed here and of course its very important to not just have the function, but to make it very easy to implement and use the functions according to your specific needs.
Laboratory Management Features For Biotech
A lab manager at a biotech when starting to explore a
Biotech LIMSsolution for their laboratories could start focusing on solutions in that space and look for the requirements listed in the last section. Buying a modern LIMS for sample management, inventory management and other functions would surely be better than using excel or paper. This would make finding things easier and improve lab quality of operations. But this will still fall short of where you need to be to fully digitally transform your laboratory and streamline, if not accelerate, your R&D organization discovery efforts.
In order to do this though the company needs to take a strategic view of their life sciences business information technology infrastructure. This means that decisions cannot be made exclusively by a lab manager, but there should be an approach that tries to address not only the lab management needs, but also the scientist's electronic lab notebook requirements. Why? Because there are many common data tracking needs that are shared between the ELN and the LIMS system that having them in a unified repository is the logical way to go as it streamlines your operations and eliminates the need for integrations with all the cost and problems they entail. The decisions to buy a single solution for LIMS and ELN really could not have been made before because such a solution did not exist until Sapio introduced it with its informatics platform in 2020.
A key decision point is also not just that there is a unified LIMS software and Electronic Lab Notebook solution, but that they are built on a world class low-code, no-code platform. Platforms like this are very hard to make and can take a decade or more to be fully fleshed out, but once created they provide immense benefits in terms of agility to adapt, built-in features, extendibility and more.
Final thoughts on Biotechnology Lab Management Software
So the LIMS and ELN will benefit immensely from the platform on which they reside in terms of implementation and change over time as well as searching and visualizing data, but if the platform also includes analytics it can also provide valuable insights to any data collected in the platform, such as curve fits and machine learning. To sum up, a biotech should look to evaluate and purchase not only a combined