The huge number of samples being generated for research has created great concern for their accurate and efficient management. Although there are many laboratory information management systems (LIMS) available, they greatly vary in sophistication and robustness.
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Nautilus LIMS has been on the market for several years, but was recently upgraded with an interface for an outsourcing agent. It was initially integrated with Fisher BioServices, but can be adapted to any partner willing to cooperate and build that end of the webserver, according to Dan O’Donnell, associate director, pharma, Fisher Bioservices.
“What’s different about this system is that it’s a cooperative solution, with both on- and off-site storage samples, along with analytical data. A biorepository system may track data but not analytical data like ours does,” explained Trish Meek, director of product strategy, life sciences, informatics at Thermo Fisher.
The two Thermo divisions partnered to create a sample- and data-management solution by linking the LIMS with internal inventory-management systems. This set-up provides a global view of inventory, centralized web-accessible data, a chain of custody, on-line sample requests, and tracking. In addition, this information can be integrated with laboratory instruments, assay/test requests, and results capture and reporting.
An example of how this may benefit clinical-trial management was presented at the conference. Combined LIMS/IT inventory management provides tools needed to manage the entire process, from sample collection kit configuration to linking of analysis data to the sample. Additional benefits include automatic inventory recording, shipment tracking and visibility, transfer to lab processing, parent/child relationship for aliquots, and on-site/off-site repository inventory view.
“We set up an inventory system for companies that have samples stored with us, which mirrors what their requirements are. For customers that aren’t integrated, we’ll set up a web-service that is a password-protected server where they can find samples and data, request samples to be shipped, and sort data,” O’Donnell added.
A key advantage to this new system is that any new data can be uploaded into the permanent record and become available to everyone within the customer system to view and query. Potential future applications of the integrated system include stem cells and biologic API storage.