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Mergers and acquisitions within pharma often require complete reshaping of enterprise-wide informatics systems

submit the test request through a web portal (or even a paper-based process), and then use the results from that test, which are sent back through the portal, to aid in therapeutic decision-making, Meek explains. ‘Te LIMS does not create the final diagnostic answer, but it manages the laboratory process and the information exchange. Comprehensive information transfer, data security and a user-friendly interface are vital to ensure that the physician can easily request a test and submit all relevant information, so that the lab can quickly perform the analysis and get the results back to the physician as quickly as possible.’

Patient-centric Clinical laboratories therefore require a clinical laboratory information management system (LIMS) that can integrate with their own laboratory information systems (LIS), manage samples and automated instrumentation, oversee and direct the laboratory workflow, offer a two-way interface with the physician’s office and manage the billing process. ‘Te move towards personalised

medicine also means that patients will be more involved in the decisions that are made about their treatment,’ Meek claims. ‘Pharma has become much more patient- centric, and focused on the needs of those


patients. Many of my informatics-related discussions with pharma clients are centred on the patient, and how to deliver quality products quickly and effectively to those patients. Developing informatics systems that can seamlessly manage information flow between the drug companies, diagnostics laboratories, physicians, and patients will help expedite treatment and treatment decision- making, and facilitate patient education, by



providing better information about their disease and how it uniquely interacts with their physiology, so the patient can be more involved in decisions about their therapy.’

Back to the future? With personalised medicine on its horizon, the industry is in parallel embracing a high-throughput version of compound combination screening, a drug discovery concept first described in the late 1920s, states Dr Oliver Leven, who heads professional

services for Genedata’s Screener business unit. And if the industry’s uptake of the Compound Synergy edition of the Genedata Screener platform is anything to go by, this high-throughput version is gaining ground rapidly, he suggests. Te concept of compound combination screening addresses the well-recognised premise that a drug compound won’t necessarily exhibit the same biological effects when applied to cells and living systems as it exhibits in an enzymatic test. While a compound may be successfully designed to interact with and either block or activate a biological target, in living cells it frequently doesn’t show this effect. Tis may be due to alternative biochemical pathways that are capable of bypassing the target. Te goal of compound combination

screening is to look, systematically, for compound combinations that exhibit the desired therapeutic effect in vivo. Te experimental process involves screening every possible combination of a set of compounds. For each combination of, say, two compounds, 100 wells are measured corresponding to 10 different dosages for each compound. Oſten, such a test scheme is then applied across different cell lines (e.g. 10 cell lines, which results in 1,000 measurements). Te number of measurements increases exponentially and can quickly reach millions of data points per project.

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