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Electronic enterprise-level insight
May 2009
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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WALTHAM, Mass.Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has entered into a partnership with Symyx Technologies Inc. to offer an enterprise-level, electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) intended to accelerate the design, execution, analysis and documentation of biological and bioanalytical workflows.

Per the agreement, the companies will integrate Thermo Scientific's Watson LIMS and Symyx's Notebook systems, creating an enterprise-level electronic solution that enables researchers to share sample lists, results and reports. According to the companies, the integration of the entire enterprise will facilitate better data correlation and collaboration, end-to-end report generation, and more secure data exchanges, with the goal of providing management with a dashboard view of the key metrics essential to running the business. The solution also aims to reduce manual transcription and data manipulation that can result in costly, time-consuming processes, laboratory errors and regulatory compliance issues.

David Champagne, vice president and general manager of informatics at Thermo Fisher Scientific, says Symyx Technologies was an attractive partner because it has market leadership in the ELN market; has similar customers with similar challenges; shares the same vision of integrating the lab for faster, more informed business decisions and facilitating collaboration; and its technology platform and approach is in complete alignment with Thermo Fisher's: purpose-built, flexible and built on Microsoft.NET. But the collaboration offers myriad opportunities for both companies, he adds.

"The informatics landscape is expanding, and our customers have been asking for a comprehensive electronic laboratory notebook," Champagne says. "Our partnership with Symyx Technologies has strengthened our portfolio and uniquely positioned us to offer scientists a new level of information management, integration and accessibility so that our joint customers can better leverage their laboratory data for enterprise insight."

Champagne adds that the collaboration will provide clients with the tools to make their scientists more efficient in the lab. ELNs are estimated to yield $30,000 annual cost savings per scientist, as measured by CENSA as early as 1997, he says.

"Paper versions of the notebooks are, by their nature, not readily accessible to others in the organization and do not foster scientific collaboration," Champagne says. "In addition, entry of data is very slow and laborious, creating an administrative burden for scientists. By delivering this type of enterprise integration, we enable our customers to have the critical data they need before, not after, any point of crisis."

Symyx president Dr. Trevor Heritage says integration of Symyx Notebook and Isentris with the laboratory automation solutions from Thermo Fisher Scientific "will enable us to revolutionize the ways in which people work in the lab." Symyx Notebook has enabled R&D organizations to reduce reworked experiments by as much as 25 percent 40 percent, while also eliminating manual activities such as data transcription, paper-based review, approval and data backup, he adds.

"The ability to record and execute experimental protocols, capture results, access and analyze data, build reports and collaborate with colleagues seamlessly will be a big win for scientists," says Heritage. "Symyx products are a natural fit for Thermo Fisher customers helping to solve problems around workflow optimization, IP capture, regulatory compliance and improved access and collaboration around research data. By partnering and forming a close relationship, we have removed barriers between Symyx and Thermo Fisher that will enable the Thermo Scientific Connects program to more rapidly deliver much requested functionality to our mutual customers and at the same time improve the quality of the integration of the laboratory systems that are in place."

In the end, the success of the collaboration will be measured in the value that the new partners bring to their joint customers by automating their end-to-end laboratory workflows, Champagne says.

"Tangible economic benefits from increased throughput, improved quality and improved knowledge management will be the measure of success of this partnership," he says.

Subsequent program phases will integrate Symyx Notebook with other Thermo Scientific LIMS designed to enhance workflow automation for the pharmaceutical industry as well as other industrial sectors such as oil and gas, chemicals, energy, environmental, food and beverage.
 
Code: E050912

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