Breaking down silos

Waters and LabVantage integrate laboratory informatics to advance data management across global organizations.

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MILFORD, Mass.—Waters Corp. and LabVantage Solutions Inc. have teamed up to integrate their laboratory software products with the goal of improving efficiency and effectiveness at laboratory-dependent organizations, the companies announced last month.

Under their partnership, Waters will integrate its NuGenesis Scientific Data Management  System (SDMS) and Empower 2 Chromatography Data Software (CDS) solutions with LabVantage's Sapphire Laboratory Information Management Suite (LIMS). The companies will co-market the integrated solutions to their respective customers. Further financial details of the partnership were not released.

Waters' NuGenesis SDMS is an electronic record management system for most types of analytical data and documentation, and Empower 2 CDS is an embedded relational database for quick and easy storage and retrieval of chromatographic data, while LabVantage's Sapphire LIMS is a thin-client LIMS suite for the management of laboratory information across an organization's worldwide R&D pipeline and manufacturing supply chain.
The companies hope the integration will eliminate infrastructure silos, harmonize global variations and maximize scientific data and experience within organizations to increase overall quality of work, says Ron Kasner, vice president of corporate development for LabVantage.
"We realized that both companies' softwares are complementary, and that some of our customers were using both Waters and LabVantage's software," Kasner says. "We knew that by working together, there would be more we could do for our customers if we integrated our platforms, enabling them to work seamlessly together and ultimately, reduce errors, lower the cost of operations and increase turnaround for our customers."

In fact, the companies have already validated the utility of the integration with two as-yet-unnamed, Big Pharma clients, with early results showing the integration allowed the customers to break down silos and create paperless laboratories, Kasner says. In one case, the integration enabled a global pharmaceutical manufacturing organization to pare down its laboratory data platforms from 31 site-specific systems to a single integrated, enterprise configuration comprising only Waters' and LabVantage's systems. The other client was able to move its laboratory notebooks and lab-based information management processes to an electronic system, Kasner adds.

"Whenever we look at entering into partnerships, customer impact is the number one outcome we want to achieve," Kasner says. "We actually held off on making a public announcement about our partnership so other organizations would know that this is not just paper fluff, but a strategic partnership that has already demonstrated its value. The feedback we have received has been quite positive."

The integration is one specifically designed to improve the functionality of organizations that want to globalize, says Phil Kilby, senior manager of informatics business and partner development for Waters. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to improve information management and laboratory connectivity so organizations can more easily and quickly turn scientific data into value-added business decisions, he adds.

"Waters made a strategic decision to establish an enduring partnership that allows our customers to be as innovative and open as possible with their choices," Kilby says. "We pride ourselves on the openness of our software. This is a matter of moving information, not just between Waters' and LabVantage's software, but also looking at the integration of other vendors' software. This is more about an enterprise moving information on a global scale so you can see all of your information at once and make decisions."
Kasner says the companies believe this initial partnership will evolve into a long-term working relationship between the two companies.

"This partnership involves the integration of best-of-breed technologies from two world-class organizations," Kasner says. "It goes back to the goal we set when we first started, which was to help our customers improve their information management and laboratory operations. We will continue to work together to that end and identify other areas that allow us to put the customer first."

"This is not about us," Kilby agrees. "Our programs and relationships have little to do with us and our partners. This is about trying to make our customers more flexible. We will continue to look at building value-added partnerships that enable our customers to be successful."

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