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Back in the workflow
June 2010
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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SUNNYVALE, Calif.Freeslate recently took the wraps off a strategic partnership with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC to deliver integrated workflows, software and pharmaceutical research services thru 2012.  

These products and services are specifically designed to deliver step-change gains in productivity and innovation. "Freeslate will provide a range of products and services that span much of our current offerings as they apply to large- and small-molecule drug development," says Steve Crouse, vice president of marketing and strategic planning for Freeslate. "We are not in a position to provide further details at this time."

Freeslate will also work as a knowledge provider, not simply a material provider.
"We work collaboratively, applying both our domain and technical expertise to help rethink how to approach R&D and provide true step-change solutions, not simply provide instruments or technologies," Crouse notes.

John Senaldi, CEO of Freeslate, says the strategic partnership "demonstrates both the breadth and depth of Freeslate's expertise in deploying industry-leading solutions to pharmaceutical research organizations."

Senaldi explains that Freeslate's new workflow tools are built on its recently launched, modular CM3 platform to impact small-molecule drug product development, biological drug substance development and biological formulation development and testing. In addition to delivering Freeslate's Laboratory Execution and Analysis (LEA) software to power these tools, the company will be deploying the LEA suite of software to integrate a number of existing workflows.

The CM3 unites two earlier Freeslate offerings, the Powdernium MtM and the second-generation Core Module platform into a single, modular product that can be easily applied to existing lab applications. The new platform offers an extensive list of new features such as a larger deck, an automated tool changer, off-deck access with robotic arms and a balance and imaging module that accommodates vials, bottles, jars and plates.

Crouse says the CM3 platform has several advantages and benefits, including modular architecture that allows the integration of standard elements to build customized solutions; a wide range of unit operations; intelligent integration of multiple functions within single elements; simple element mounting that allows for easy customer exchange of arm or deck elements to build new workflows; passive element racks that are interchangeable; and third-party integration featuring off-deck elements can be easily integrated with an extended robot rail.

"The CM3 streamlines how applications are run in today's labs, ultimately optimizing efficiency, reducing overall R&D costs and accelerating scientific discovery for researchers," notes Senaldi.

Crouse points out that this is the type of customer relationship where Freeslate can help make a significant difference in the company's success.  

"The benefits of high-throughput research, enabled by Freeslate, takes more than just providing products and services, it involves cultural changes as well," he says.

Crouse also points out several important aspects of agreements like these that make this type of arrangement attractive to a company that is truly committed to make step-change gains in productivity and innovation in their R&D, including partnership versus transaction, long-term nature ensuring relationship- development for optimum collaboration and fulfillment of the original goals.

Moreover, agreements such as these should feature a broad scope, from both scientific discipline as well as geographic perspective. Crouse notes that this enables "sharing of information across departments and stages of drug development to ensure customer receives the benefits/value of what we can deliver."

It apparently has been a fast track toward success for Freeslate, which in March announced its launch as an independent company focused on delivering integrated workflow solutions for R&D organizations seeking to maximize productivity and enhance innovation.

Freeslate, which previously operated as the High Productivity Research (HPR) business unit of Symyx Technologies, provides researchers with increased experimental capacity and faster decision-making via its microscale, high-throughput technology, lab execution and analysis software, and experienced engineers and application scientists.

"R&D organizations are continually seeking to accelerate discovery and development while avoiding unnecessary expenses," notes Senaldi. "At Freeslate, we use our expertise to deploy proven high-throughput technology solutions, enabling step-change gains in productivity and innovation for these customers."

Freeslate owns an extensive portfolio of IP covering high-throughput, parallel and microscale technology. The company's offerings include comprehensive, seamlessly integrated workflow systems and product-related services such as technology development, feasibility demonstration, proof-of-concept and managed services.

Senaldi also points out that R&D organizations are continually seeking to accelerate discovery and development while avoiding unnecessary expenses.

"Now as an independent company, we can maintain an even sharper focus on ensuring such results within the R&D labs of our broad, global customer base," he says.

Crouse points out that this isn't the first time the two companies have crossed paths.
"Prior to the spin off from Symyx, our business has provided products and services to them, but not to the extent which the new partnership enables," he notes.
J&J did not respond to interview requests for this story.
 
 
Code: E061008

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