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LABORATORY INFORMATICS GUIDE 2016 | ANNUAL REVIEW ➤ Again, there is an emphasis on flexibility

and ease of configuration: ‘The BioRails and Morphit platforms allow you to store, handle and analyse structured data from just about any source,’ Lemon said. In an echo of the versatility of Autoscribe’s system, he pointed out: ‘We use BioRails and Morphit as part of our company expenses and accounting systems’. Because it is a web-based, integrated system, it makes it easy for different groups and departments within or between organisations to communicate and transfer data without loss of meaning, and with no contraction. According to Lemon: ‘The software allows

project teams to submit and track assay requests to and from internal departments, collaborators and contract service providers, and to follow and manage workflows within and between departments and contract or partner organisations.’ This is complemented by BioRails Inventory, a module for managing activities from plate registration to creating plates, transferring materials, and managing inventory for both solids and liquids, between and within CROs and their clients. ‘Traditional inventory systems were struggling because they were only designed to work in house,’ Lemon pointed out.

PARTNERSHIP OR PURCHASE? IDBS is pursuing its vision of an integrated software package by means of alliances and partnerships with other vendors who have products that make a natural fit, complementing its own system. Compared to a vast multinational corporation such as Waters, IDBS is a relatively small company, so the partnership strategy allows it to offer capabilities that it would not have the resources to develop by itself. Waters too has pursued the objective of an integrated suite of laboratory informatics software, but even a company as large as Waters has had to go to

other companies in order to obtain the expertise and the range of systems it needed to form an integrated package. The contrast, in Waters’ case, is that the

company was big enough to acquire the extra technology – not by partnership but by acquisition of the innovators; Waters bought the companies to obtain their intellectual property. This is not as easy as it sounds. Buying different companies that make different software can present ferocious problems of incompatibility. Waters’ NuGenesis platform encompasses an

integrated suite of solutions: NuGenesis scientific data management system (SDMS); NuGenesis ELN; and NuGenesis Sample Management. The combined platform has the capability to link every activity in the laboratory – from sample submission to laboratory execution

But even a company as large as Waters has had to go to other companies in order to obtain the expertise and the

range of systems that it needed to form an integrated packag

methods, results review, software integration, laboratory inventories, and stability testing – to business operations. In addition to the Sample Management and ELN solutions that are part of the NuGenesis platform, Waters offers solutions such as Paradigm Scientific Search Software, which can integrate with NuGenesis SDMS to allow scientific data searching, or NuGenesis Connectors, which act as configurable bidirectional links between the NuGenesis Lab Management System and business system applications such as SAP. NuGenesis has its roots in Mantra Software,

which in 1998 was tasked by a pharmaceutical client to solve the problem of accessing highly specialised data from multiple, specialised

software – including individual vendor instrument software – without breaking compliance or creating a security risk. ‘Mantra solved the problem by first asking what all these software solutions had in common,’ Mullen explains. ‘Realising that they all had the capacity to print reports, the company developed a patented process for capturing that print output from each one of those systems as a Windows- enhanced metafile, and the resulting data aggregation tool was the very first iteration of NuGenesis. Mantra also changed its name to NuGenesis

in 1998. Within a couple of years, however, and with the introduction of FDA’s 21 CFR part 11 regulation for electronic records and signatures, came the need for a method to capture the data files that were the source of those printed documents. Garrett Mullen, senior product manager for Waters’ NuGenesis Lab Management System, continued the story: ‘This expertise was found in a product called Archive, which could effectively sweep the network of PCs around a company and identify and copy newly created data files. Archive was combined with the print capture technology and the platform was then named NuGenesis, matching the company name. Waters acquired NuGenesis in 2004, shortly after it acquired Creon Lab Control, a Germany- based firm that offered boutique-type LIMS functionality, ELN, and workflow tools.’ And from that combination of capabilities

NuGenesis evolved into the first iteration of the NuGenesis Lab Management System platform, Mullen said. Over the subsequent decade, Waters added functionality, including data capture enhancements that allowed integration with other Waters applications – among them Empower chromatography data software, and data capture from instrumentation, including balances, titration equipment, pH meters and other serial devices . These assisted in the consistent capture of data showing the correct units of measurement, and significant numbers directly to ELN. All this has been built on a platform that was originally designed for data aggregation and harmonisation, Mullen remarked, adding: ‘Although now highly evolved, NuGenesis is still differentiated by this ability to capture data from any instrument in the laboratory, in a very unobtrusive way, and with no custom coding. It requires the simple installation of a printer driver, and uses a graphical interface to map a document and extract content.’l

Original reporting on which this review of the year is based was carried out by Sophia Ktori, Gloria Metrick, and Tom Wilkie

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