Next Generation Automation Lab Achieves Huge Productivity Gains

Eli Lilly and Company and their industry partners, including sample management specialists – Ziath, are speeding the discovery of new medicines through the fully automated Lilly Life Sciences Studio (L2S2) lab in San Diego, USA.

L2S2 was set up as part of the Lilly Discovery Automation Research and Technologies Group. The lab has brought together a team of talented automation engineers and scientists in the design, implementation, and operation of a variety of innovative automation projects which are introduced in an informative video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1wssRFwaE.

Devon Thompson Senior Research Fellow at Lilly said “Our Life Science Studio is exciting because it allows us to reduce cycle times, go faster on projects and ultimately bring the right drug to the right patient in a timely fashion.”

Using a Magnamotion track, individual islands of automation covering compound synthesis, purification, analysis and biological testing have been brought together in one large laboratory space under the control of one bespoke automation scheduling software. Ziath’s Cube 2D-barcoded tube rack readers are utilized in this process to identify and monitor the position of individual samples travelling throughout the storage and processing modules of L2S2. This advanced sample management technology is most important in the Input-Output module, where samples are received and retrieved from the L2S2 system.

Rick Robbins, the L2S2 Automation Group Leader, commented “The input-output module allows the operator to have one touchpoint to put samples on and take samples off the system. This is very important because we really want to do positive sample tracking of every sample that’s moving on the system at any time.” By using 2D-barcoded tubes and vials, the Ziath Cube readers across L2S2 can keep track of the many hundreds of samples being processed at any one time by reporting their individual ID numbers to the Master Scheduler from each workstation or touchpoint.

In addition, Lilly research fellow James Beck said “A key component of this lab is the ability to track the data from the very beginning of the order, all the way through to the end.” This is important, because according to James Beck “We generate annually roughly 15-20% of the entire Lilly compound collection that goes to biological screening”.

“This novel deployment of Ziath readers as part of a large-scale automated Drug Discovery laboratory is both exciting and yields huge productivity gains, pointing the way forward for many other drug discovery companies to go in future” said Landon Diaz, General Manager of Ziath America.

Founded in 2005, Ziath specialises in development of innovative instrumentation control and information management products using 2D Data Matrix bar-coded tubes to simplify automation processes in life science organisations, from academia, to the biotech and pharma industries.

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