Using LIMS for Lean Drug Discovery

Neurocrine – Launch2015 in Review

“We were the typical case– lots of data in lots of different silos, even the same data in different silos, in different formats.”

Data management continues to be a major piece of how organizations become and remain successful. LIMSsystems (Laboratory Information Management Systems) are an essential tool that can be used within many types of industries. For example, using a LIMS system to reorganize an entire company’s lab inventory and then to streamline operations for a streamlined approach was the focus of Neurocrine Bioscience’s latest efforts at lean drug discovery.

John Harman, Director, Research (Automation, Analytical, Informatics) at Neurocrine Biosciences, discussed his endeavors at Launch2015, Core Informatics’ annual user group meeting.

LIMS for Research Data Cycle Efficiency

Harman’s presentation at Launch2015 was on the research data cycle – specifically, on how to do more with less.

Before partnering with Core Informatics, Harman stated that Neurocrine worked with a disorganized arrangement of vials in various drawers in the lab. Notes to non-existent lab books accompanied them, as did hand-drawn chemical structures. Laboratory information management software appeared to be a necessity.

“We were the typical case– lots of data in lots of different silos, even the same data in different silos, in different formats,” Harman said.

Harnessing this array of data became necessary for Neurocrine so they could develop and grow in their industry.

Core Informatics’ LIMS Creates a Fully Accessible Database for Neurocrine

John Harman - Neurocrine Biosciences

Using the Core LIMS allowed Neurocrine to get rid of their disorganization and develop new efficient processes. Core Informatics’ platform, more specifically the Core LIMS, enabled the Neurocrine team to reorganize their inventory into a fully accessible database.

With the lab management software providing a simple way to reference specific chemical structures per vial, Harman said Neurocrine could now cull data from experiments and source a copious amount of information down to the specific vials used. Neurocrine now has 13 million items in this new database, easily accessed and categorized.

Harman discussed the preparation of reagents, including library enumeration, purification, and analysis. He stated that after samples are purified by mass-directed purification, the resulting fractions are measured for concentration and purity. A Core LIMS workflow features the process criteria and actions, and houses all emails related to the project team. In addition, the team has access to lineage between source vials and resulting fractions.

Benefits of a Lean Approach to Drug Discovery

One benefit of the lean approach, especially regarding drug discovery, is to aliquot samples into each of the amounts that may be requested in the future. When a researcher needs them, they’re already prepared and ready-to-go. The project team also has the option to add or discard an assay as they deem necessary. Doing this adjusting on the fly disrupts nothing because of the ease of use, and tracking capabilities, of the Core LIMS.

After going through an assay prep case study, Harman presented his team’s approaches for data reduction and analysis. He discussed the chronology of data reducers Neurocrine has worked with, beginning with single-point data reducers, standard-dose response curves, and raw data logistic fit, which deals with raw instead of normalized data (a specific capability Neurocrine requested, which is now available in the system). Two more data reductions followed, including reference curve DR data, which Harman stated he used the most, and lastly R script. R script is notable for its ability to engage in specific uses, being able to write particular business rules into the data reduction itself.

A question and answer period followed, with Harman fielding one question that led him to further explain the simplicity of the LIMS database’s use, concluding that it was “very easy to change attributes and move data in the program.”

Register here to see the presentation in its entirety. Learn more about Core’s solutions for drug discovery.