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June 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 12)

Lab Transport and Management System

LAB2LAB Designed to Connect Remote Labs to a Central Instrument Facililty

  • Case Study

    Click Image To Enlarge +
    Figure 1. Average time following sample submission for data to be returned to the ELN

    Recent installation of LAB2LAB at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research has enabled scientists to assess the benefit of remote connection of six chemical laboratories over three floors to a central analytical lab.

    In the first phase of installation, the linking of six medicinal chemistry labs to an Agilent 1100 HPLC for analysis in a central lab was demonstrated. Following this, one and then later on, two Waters Acquity UPLC-MS instruments for reaction monitoring were installed on LAB2LAB, and a significant increase in productivity was observed.

    Results of a study assessing the time necessary for a chemist to physically submit a sample vial to UPLC-MS instrumentation and to receive data into their ELN on a single day is shown in Figure 1. On this day 180 samples were submitted to two Acquities, and the average time taken for the results to be returned was 11 minutes, 34 seconds. Data included samples that had been submitted for multiple methods, including samples that were submitted using methods that would take longer than the standard two-minute reaction-monitoring analysis.

  • Click Image To Enlarge +
    Figure 2. Addition of a second UPLC-MS instrument reduces queue time

    In a further study, the average time taken to obtain results was plotted against the number of samples run on each day (Figure 2). Each point on this graph represents a single day, and shows the samples submitted by more than 50 chemists working in the six medicinal chemistry labs.

    Figure 2 shows the response of a single UPLC-MS (Series 1) and two UPLC-MS instruments (Series 2). It was observed that as the number of samples per day increased to more than 100, a single UPLC-MS instrument struggled to cope. However, the addition of a second analyzer within LAB2LAB, enabled the management of queuing and sample distribution, reducing the queue time significantly. In this study more than 250 samples per day were being run with an average queue time of less than 30 minutes.

    Additionally, outliers show the effect on queue times as a result of taking an instrument offline for maintenance.

    These analyzers were able to support in excess of 250 sample submissions per day with an acceptable time to return data to the ELN. As the flow of samples is dependent on several factors including the difficulty of the chemistry, the number of chemists working on a project, and the time of day, it is difficult to optimize the performance and achieve full capacity. However, addition of more instruments running the same methods will enable greater numbers of samples to be analyzed rapidly. Addition of different instruments will enable LAB2LAB to provide the chemist with a virtual instrument in every laboratory, capable of running a variety of methods on each sample. It is possible to load larger samples directly into the buffer therefore enabling automatic analysis of a compound library.