BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—In response to the growing need for more robust data capture and data tracking for bio banks, LabVantage Solutions Inc. rolled out in late spring the Sapphire BioBanking Solution, which it built in conjunction with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, the original developers of the Spectrum repository management tool.
"Specimen management has always been a part of a LIMS management system, but there haven't been any really good features in LIMS to manage it," says Ronald Kasner, senior director of business development for LabVantage. "The problem is LIMS don't have the true operational location and custody management that you really need in a specimen management tool."
LabVantage believes it has created those capabilities in its BioBanking Solution which operates as a module to the company's Sapphire LIMS system. As such, the module allows users to track individual specimens from collection to the clinic and at every "touchpoint" in between. Further, it allows researchers to call up all related data for individual specimens generated as a result of either clinical work or discovery assays.
"There is a changing dynamic at play here," Kasner notes. "In the past clinical studies for the FDA only required a limited period of time in which you needed to maintain the sample. Even though it hasn't gone away, there is now interest, because of pharmacogenomics, translation medicine and biomarker research which is driving pharmaceutical companies and research organizations to re-utilize these clinical samples for research."
This is no small task. Dan Friedman, associate director, informatics, Millennium Pharmaceuticals estimates his company tracks between 500,000 and 1 million samples stored in half a dozen different locations. Prior to contracting with LabVantage to create a solution, Friedman says Millennium's home-grown SMS was running up "against both technology limits, as well as functional and feature limits."
An RFP to help the company create a more robust system, brought the two companies together and was the impetus for LabVantage to roll out the BioBanking Solution to the wider market.
Because potential customers would need to manage samples at multiple locations, the application is browser-based, to ease users' ability to easily and accurately enter sample information. It was also created with an open architecture to make it compatible with other LIMS systems.