In general, how has the productivity of pharmaceutical labs increased/evolved over the last 20 years and how much of this evolution is due to the better understanding and analysis of lab data?
We believe that the most impactful factor driving increased productivity is the increasing usage of digitally-enabled/connected equipment. Utilizing the data streaming from laboratory equipment and instrumentation can allow for avoidance of human effort to collect, transcribe, and assemble data. This reduces the amount of human effort necessary to prepare, execute, and assess the results of laboratory experimentation - resulting in more productive use of laboratory resources.
While the evolution of analytical instrumentation and software and networking of instruments has enabled scientists to gain an everdeeper understanding in their fields, this data deluge has brought with it the challenge of how to provide effective data access and management. Our conversations with customers and prospects have increasingly centered on this challenge.
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Over this same time period what has been ACD/Labs’ mission? How has the company helped the pharmaceutical industry bring safe and effective treatments to market over the last 20 years?
Analytical data presents a unique challenge for systems developed for data streaming and data management: formats, methods of analysis and disposition of results are often instrument (and even vendor) specific. Consequently, ACD/Labs’ mission has been to develop a platform that allows rich analytical data (raw, processed, analyzed) to be incorporated into Laboratory Informatics systems with little-tono loss in fidelity. The results of our efforts have enabled our clients within the pharmaceutical industry to make “data-driven” decisions – resulting in increased productivity and reduced risk exposure.
Specifically, what tools does ACD/Labs currently offer to assist pharmaceutical clients to extract the most pertinent data from their synthetic and analytical chemistry labs?
Our clients have implemented the ACD/Spectrus Platform to manage data and knowledge that has historically been isolated from their decision-making. The results of analyses performed within analytical chemistry labs - and in support of synthetic experimentation – when summarized in human-crafted analysis summary reports typically do not lend themselves to intimate review. Scientists are relegated to using the instrument or equipment software interface to review and re-interrogate data. Considering that a significant majority of analyses require more than a single type of analytical data to be processed and analyzed, this relegation results in scientists having to use myriad software interfaces for a single interrogation. Furthermore, the ability to look at such rich and complex data across individual experiments is often very difficult or impossible. The Spectrus Platform provides scientists with the ability to conduct both cross-experiment and intimate data interrogation within a single platform.
Looking ahead, are there any lab productivity/analytical technologies/services being developed now that will help pharma companies bring innovative products to the market? How will ACD/Labs be meeting this challenge for its current and future clients?
We believe that the biggest impact innovations in the near future will address the challenge of managing the rich analytical data that is relied upon for both internal decision-making and to demonstrate regulatory compliance. ACD/Labs continues to focus on helping R&D organizations with this issue. Our future development plans relating to this are two-fold:
- To facilitate data exchange between internal, external (e.g., suppliers and contract manufacturers), and regulatory stakeholders. The increasing trend of externalization within the pharmaceutical industry presents an even greater challenge for analytical data than other data types. Therefore, we are working with our clients to enable facile digital analytical data exchanges across their R&D ecosystem and manufacturing supply chains.
- Within the lab, further integration between experimentation, sample preparation, analytical instrumentation, and supporting informatics systems will be especially important. The value of such integrations is compounded when considering the increasing adoption of robotics and automation within laboratories. Our commercial roadmap includes some exciting new products that help address some of the challenges historically associated with such integration efforts.
Andrew Anderson currently leads innovation efforts as VP of Business Development at ACD/Labs. Prior to ACD/Labs, Andrew led efforts in Technology Scouting at PepsiCo – with responsibilities in Technology Assessment, Licensing, and Commercialization. Andrew also served in a variety of Sales Management, Business Development, and Strategic Partnership roles in the Scientific Software industry. Andrew started his professional career as an Analytical Chemist and Regulatory CMC Specialist at Pfizer. Andrew earned a B.Sc in Chemistry and MBA from San Diego State University.