Achieving operational excellence with a modern Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
After decades of real-world experience developing software solutions within Merck Frosst Canada, Jean Marois helped found Scigilian, provider of a modern, cloud-based Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). We’re delighted to welcome Scigilian to the Tetra Partner Network and to share our recent interview with Jean.
Please tell us about Scigilian’s founders
Our co-founders and a large majority of our team started their careers at Merck Frosst Canada and have over 100 years of combined experience developing software solutions for drug discovery.
As Chief Executive Officer I formerly had a global informatics leadership role for in vitro sciences, external basic research, and the new technology research licensing committee at Merck. I also played a lead role in Merck’s basic research global operating strategy by assessing Merck’s drug discovery processes from target ID and validation to lead optimization.
Our Chief Technology Officer, Jerry Ferentinos, has been delivering valuable and effective IT solutions for pharmaceutical R&D challenges for over 25 years. In the past, he led the design and development of compound management automation systems as well as Merck's cutting-edge, global solution for assay data analysis, used from lead identification through lead optimization.
Quay Vong, Chief Operating Officer, has over 25 years of experience in software development and customer success. In his previous role at Merck Frosst Canada, he led the development of large-scale systems for Merck’s global research population in the areas of materials and compound management, automation, data visualization, and tools for exploratory chemistry.
In a few sentences, please describe Scigilian and why you started the company.
We spent over 20 years at Merck developing informatics tools for drug discovery that were championed by scientists. We loved what we did and wanted to continue to help researchers develop new therapeutics. Additionally, a clear market need for our products was evident, reinforced by inquiries from our ex-Merck colleagues who had moved on to new companies. So you could say that a passion for the work we do, market needs, and helping researchers led us to start Scigilian.
Your platform spans the drug discovery process. Can you tell us more about your product suite: STORE, REQUEST, ANALYZE and VISUALIZE, and the value they provide to customers?
Drug discovery is a time-consuming, financial, and labor-intensive process. The discovery phase could take three to six years (or longer) before a potential therapeutic enters the clinic. Our suite of products was built to provide relief to a very daunting process. Emphasizing a suite of products that complements each other and seamlessly integrates with each other is at the heart of what we do. Our products enable customers to track and store their samples, order and track assays to test their samples, analyze their data collaboratively, and share their findings across groups, departments, or organizations such as external partners and CROs.
Emphasizing a suite of products that complements each other and seamlessly integrates with each other is at the heart of what we do.
REQUEST (REQ), our signature product offering makes it possible to track samples globally and place assay requests. It takes care of all the logistical needs to get the sample to the right group and provides all the information necessary on how to test the sample. STORE (STO) manages sample inventory and integrates with REQ to process samples. REQ and STO work together to prep samples (e.g., in tubes or plates) and transfer them to those running the assay. All the logistical needs and SOPs are managed by REQ and it actively updates the status of each order.
ANALYZE (ANA) is then used to analyze generated data and offers a powerful suite of calculation templates and business rules that helps users process large sets of data efficiently. ANA can also be used to collaborate, where an external group at a CRO running the assay can upload and analyze data which is then checked by the internal principal scientist before being published. VISUALIZE (VIZ) consolidates data from multiple assays, making it a platform that allows data sharing across groups, departments, or organizations. It allows users to register entities (biologics, compounds, etc.) and make informed decisions on their samples. This completes the loop that enables the drug discovery process to operate efficiently with the hope of alleviating pain points that our customers face on a daily basis.
What is unique about your solutions?
Our solutions have the benefit of being tried, tested, and developed with the input of scientists. While Scigilian is a new company, our team, and software are a result of over 20 years of continuous development and deployment. Previous iterations of all our products were used by large pharmaceutical companies and now they are available to everyone as a SaaS offering designed for secure collaboration. We continue to innovate our products collaboratively with consistent input from our customers with an emphasis on remaining at the cutting edge of science. This along with our dedication to customer success makes our products and services unlike any other in the industry.
Previous iterations of all our products were used by large pharmaceutical companies and now they are available to everyone as a SaaS offering designed for secure collaboration.
You mentioned REQUEST is your signature product to date. How is it helping scientists to decrease assay-cycle time and improve discovery efforts?
Imagine being able to search for a sample in your global sample collection and have a study conducted across the world at a CRO in Beijing, from the convenience of your lab in Cambridge, MA. Better yet, in this remote working environment imagine doing this from the comfort of your home office. REQUEST (REQ) is a cutting-edge SaaS platform that takes care of all your needs from locating samples, reflecting their availability, coordinating logistics, and providing downstream groups with the information required to process and test the samples. Notifications and status updates allow everyone in the value chain to stay informed thus reducing cycle times and avoiding miscommunication.
How are your products helping customers innovate and advance discovery? Where are your customers seeing success?
Our products are constantly evolving, and we consistently engage our clients. We emphasize collaboration, especially with our clients in developing the next iteration of product updates that enable our customers to better innovate and expedite discovery. We do this using a hands-on approach, where we seek customer feedback and involve them in our product development process. Customers benefit from robust and efficient products that fit their needs while it helps us innovate and expand access to new tools to future customers.
What is the value of belonging to the Tetra Partner Network and integrating your products so they can consume Tetra Data?
Enabling our clients to achieve operational excellence in developing therapeutics is our ultimate goal. Embedded in that is the crucial need to rapidly process, analyze, and share large volumes of scientific data. The more scientific data that scientists have at their fingertips, the faster they can work and, hopefully, discover new therapeutic candidates. By joining the Tetra Partner Network, we will be able to help our clients create new workflows easily and extend the capabilities of our platform by increasing scientific insights and outcomes.
By joining the Tetra Partner Network, we will be able to help our clients create new workflows easily and extend the capabilities of our platform by increasing scientific insights and outcomes.
TetraScience’s advanced integration capabilities and Tetra Data will help our clients bridge gaps and expedite their drug development efforts.