Global biotech

Global biotech company transforms R&D process with electronic lab notebook

Data input, capture and search time slashed by 75%

The challenge

Like many research and development (R&D) organizations, this global biotechnology company operated in a paper-based environment. Research data was captured in Excel documents and printed and pasted into notebooks making it hard to know where specific information was recorded. Past experiments were not easily searchable with standardized formatting, contributing to a 25% duplication of work rate across the lab.

Data reports were usually sent via email. Manual input, search and reporting was time consuming and encroached on valuable research. In addition, it was becoming costly to rely on microfilm scanning as a method of capturing and storing IP.

The company wanted to boost data management efficiency in its molecular biology division and make the results searchable by defining a common way of documenting experiments. With plans to start a new product line, the company took the opportunity to find a solution which could automate its data.

The R&D Information Systems Programme Manager said, “This move was initially opportunistic. We wanted to be able to store results from our instruments in a more efficient manner, as our paper-based processes made it hard to share experimental results. We noticed it was possible to use this opportunity to replace the paper notebooks in our labs completely and build a knowledge repository to standardize our data format and importantly, make it searchable.”

 Global biotech

The solution

The global biotech company’s molecular biology division looked at competing electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) to find the best tool for the job. It needed a solution which would enable its researchers to store data in one secure place quickly, standardize the way experiments were reported and reduce reliance on paper in the lab.

Scientists were asked to trial a number of different solutions. They chose IDBS’ E-WorkBook to transform R&D operations. Ease of use and the ELN’s efficient spreadsheet technology tailored specifically to biologists’ needs sealed the deal.

E-WorkBook has a proven track record of reducing study completion and reporting times. Users report improved data quality by reducing transcription errors through direct data capture and the ability to generate reports in seconds rather than weeks.

A six month pilot of the solution, saw the global biotech company create specific templates to streamline and standardize data input. After this initial success, E-WorkBook was rolled out across the company’s molecular biology teams to around 70 users across two sites in France.

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The results

The results of this move away from notebooks to the paperless lab have been phenomenal. Manual data input, capture and search time have been cut by up to 75%. This is a significant time saving which boosts efficiency in the lab and enables researchers to concentrate on their valuable discovery work rather than spending hours recording and formatting data.

The R&D Information Systems Programme Manager said, “Our previous method of recording data and reporting saw researchers relying on notebooks and email. Cutting out our reliance on paper and streamlining our data management has enabled us to reduce information capture time dramatically. This is all time that can go back into our research.”

With all data in one secure place, duplication of work is also significantly reduced, as the knowledge repository enables users to search and find existing data quickly and efficiently. A new focus on recording results in this way protects IP and has also produced a rise in data quality and traceability. Researchers are careful to input accurate results in a standard format, enabling other users to call back previous experiment data with full context around how that experiment was conducted. Experiment metadata such as objectives, materials used and conditions are recorded alongside results, adding additional insight.

The easy-to-use E-WorkBook  speeds up reporting too. Users no longer need to build and email data reports. The information they require can be called out of the system at the click of a button and shared with relevant parties efficiently.

The company has truly transformed R&D data management and realized significant operational efficiencies. Importantly, this streamlined approach to data in turn boosts speed to market, a must in today’s competitive marketplace.

Key benefits that this global biotechnology company has seen in ditching paper:

  • Up to 75% reduction in time to input and capture data
  • Reduced duplication of work
  • Faster speed to market for research
  • Speedy reporting and efficient data management
  • Improved data quality and traceability