Making the Digital Lab a Reality

eLabNext Briefing Note

Axendia was recently briefed by Erwin Seinen, Co-Founder & Managing Director, eLabNext, and Zareh Zurabyan, Head of eLabNext, Americas.  eLabNext is a brand of Bio-ITech BV, with Eppendorf SE holding majority share, and their solution is a multidisciplinary Digital Lab Platform (DLP) designed to solve the longstanding problem of inefficient, disconnected data sources in R&D, creating a risk to both reproducibility and quality.   

The Digital Lab Platform

Disconnected digital tools are a direct cause of much of the data silos we see in Life Sciences laboratories, and many biopharmaceutical organizations struggle with this challenge as they try to progress their digital transformation. eLabNext aims to overcome this bottleneck with their Digital Lab Platform (DLP), which is a set of “digital tools that have direct and positive impact in the physical world,” says Zurabyan. The DLP is comprised of the eLabJournal, eLabInventory and eLabProtocols modules at its core. It can integrate with other readily available digital tools and is intended to provide a connected digital ecosystem that follows a sample, the devices used, and the data generated – from receipt through processing all the way to analysis.  

Source: eLabNext

According to Zubaryan, the modules within the open eLabNext DLP were purpose-built to fully integrate with one another and with “a lab’s current ecosystem in mind so the client can continue to build an environment that is future-proofed and sustainable – as in having longevity as the demands of technologies is growing exponentially. We always tell our labs to think about not just your overall need right now, but the digital strategy of your lab for the next 3 years.” 

Data Connectivity

Data Connectivity is the first step toward what Axendia calls a Digital Fabric.  Weaving Digital Threads into a Digital Fabric is a key to achieving visibility and traceability across the full product lifecycle – allowing companies to track a product and its digital assets.  Weaving a Digital Fabric requires the adoption of a digitally sustainable model to transition from point solutions to modern connected platforms. 

The journey towards data connectivity requires the foundational elements of “digitizing the lab, enforcing digital health and data integrity,” according to Zurabyan, “and draws upon 5 capability pillars,” as shown in the table below. 

Source: eLabNext

“We have democratized the ability for our clients to create their own add-ons through our Application Programming Interface (API) and Software Development Kit (SDK), but they can also install add-ons and integrations from the eLab Marketplace,” says Zurabyan. “It used to be that new digital tools would come out every 3-5 years, but now we’re seeing them come out every 3-5 months. We must enable our customers to keep up with this dynamic technology landscape.” 

Axendia continues to hear from clients that they need technology providers to understand their current digital ecosystems.  Life Science organizations are not willing to rip and replace their current equipment before embarking on their Digital Sustainability Journey. Industry executives also understand that no single vendor will have everything they need to achieve their objectives. Instead, executives are looking for modern platforms that operate seamlessly across their heterogeneous ecosystem.

This push for integration is also top of mind for eLabNext. “What we are setting up here is an ecosystem that is growing, and we already have many third parties that are actively joining our marketplace,” says Seinen. “It is like a multiplier effect because these partners – big and small – see the growth potential that comes with this connectivity, without the need for them to build another whole new platform.”

Coaching Customers to Future Proof

Like the industry at large, eLabNext’s typical clients are struggling with what Zurabyan calls “one-dimensional solutions,” such as paper-based lab journals, spreadsheets, and stand-alone ELNs and LIMS that lack connectivity, flexibility and scalability. Companies typically perceive moving from this status quo as difficult, so gaining a full understanding of their customers’ specific workflows is critical to customer success. Customers’ details around storage, sample management, and how and where the data will be shared are critical for software providers to understand, and the eLabNext team uses each client’s information to coach them on prioritizing which capabilities should be implemented now while ensuring the client can scale the offerings as part of their longer-term digital strategy.

Efficiency gains are a common business driver for companies with digital transformation initiatives. Seinen and Zurabyan shared some of the associated nuances that should be considered. For example, if a scientist is spending less time physically looking for samples, that saves them time, but it also means they are not having to open the freezer as often, which over time, conserves energy as well. Similarly, if a technician knows exactly what reagents he or she has in inventory, that means fewer instances of duplicate ordering and equates to less waste due to expired materials, also saving money. “These are benefits that are not always considered in our initial discussions,” says Zurabyan. 

Source: eLabNext

In terms of flexibility, the eLab DLP can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud, which satisfies the needs of different-sized companies and their respective IT infrastructures. The DLP is also mobile responsive and has an intuitive user interface, features that are in line with their customers’ expectations, says Zurabyan.

In Brief

Although biopharma continues to lag adjacent industries’ progress in digital transformation, the number of new technology companies delivering solutions that are easier to use, configure, implement, integrate and scale continues to grow at an exponential rate compared to a few years ago. eLabNext DLP’s integrated modules for sample and workflow management is an approach that seeks to address the Life Science industry’s needs and eagerness to move beyond point solutions to more digitally sustainable platforms. Increasingly, technology companies are leaning into the Life Sciences industry’s demand for a more holistic approach and the recognition that there will never be one solution or one vendor that fits all. Axendia maintains this view and is here to guide and advise our clients as they navigate this journey. We will continue to provide updates on eLabNext as they become available.

We will continue to provide updates on eLabNext as they become available. 

To discuss how this initiative impacts your organization.  Click on this link to schedule an Analyst Inquiry on this topic.

The opinions and analysis expressed in this post reflect the judgment of Axendia at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this post is current as of publication date. Information cited is not warranted by Axendia but has been obtained through a valid research methodology. This post is not intended to endorse any company or product and should not be attributed as such.

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