Laboratory Business Intelligence
Chemists from a publicly traded pharmaceutical company were analyzing an expensive and precious batch of preclinical biomolecule samples. Their preclinical development research represented a critical stage in the progression of the biomolecule drug candidates through the pipeline toward commercial success.
The chemist and technicians responsible for the analyses prepared many samples and set up the instruments to run the tests. They finished the pre-analytical setup, pressed the run sequence button and then left the laboratory while the samples ran unattended.
Later that day, the chemist returned to the laboratory to check the analyses and found that two of the instruments malfunctioned soon after the runs started. The malfunction denatured the samples rendering them useless for further analysis.
The data and sample loss set the project back a number of weeks. A service call was placed and a service engineer arrived the next day to diagnose and repair the problem.
It took over two days to troubleshoot and repair the instruments because both instruments had reached the end-of-support date issued by the instrument vendor. The service engineer pointed out the end-of-support date and the fact that the instruments were at least three or four generations behind current technology to the lab manager.
This raised a question in the laboratory about an instrument’s fit-for-purpose: “Why are we running the most critical samples and applications on the oldest instruments?” By chance, a team from Agilent CrossLab was onsite and the lab manager raised the fit-for-purpose question with them.
The team explained a way to ascertain fit-for-purpose by using Agilent CrossLab’s Laboratory Business Intelligence (LBI) service to evaluate the instruments running critical experiments. LBI collects, aggregates and transforms disparate sources of laboratory operations data into actionable information, which helps laboratory managers make informed decisions about their lab operations.
To help answer the fit-for-purpose question, Agilent CrossLab agreed to mine and interrogate the Bioanalytical Services’ scientific instrument installed base using LBI. The Agilent CrossLab program managers collected inventory lists and laboratory assessment information from the bioanalytical laboratory managers.
The data was input into the LBI platform and then a series of data queries were run against the business analytics engine, for example, age, repair history, technology life-cycle levels, end-of-support dates and experimental protocol criticality. The output was a series of metrics and reports focused on answering the fit-for-purpose question.
The Agilent CrossLab LBI interrogation confirmed many instances of using older, less technically advanced instruments for analyzing Bioanalytical Services’ most critical and expensive applications.
The answer to management's question of “Why are we running the most critical samples and applications on the oldest instruments?” was rather simple – habit and familiarity with the older equipment. Chemists chose the older instruments over the newer ones in the lab for convenience without regard for analytical robustness, sensitivity or throughput.
By demonstrating the power of LBI to Bioanalytical Services, Agilent CrossLab uncovered a fit-for-purpose gap in the analytical phase of the laboratory testing cycle.
Using laboratory business intelligence for interrogating laboratory operations data, and then consulting with our clients, Agilent CrossLab often finds opportunities to mitigate operational risk in our client’s laboratories.