Connecting Siloed Systems Throughout the R&D Lifecycle for Research Insights
Colabra was created from the realization that in today’s fast-paced scientific R&D landscape, organizations were facing a growing challenge of managing all their complex, disconnected data. We are delighted to welcome Colabra to the Tetra Partner Network and to share a recent interview with Aoi Senju, Co-founder and CEO.
Please describe Colabra.
Colabra is a GxP-compliant platform that enables users to aggregate events throughout the R&D lifecycle, streamline FAIR data governance, and connect siloed systems into research insights. We built Colabra because we saw the challenges that scientific organizations face as they grow, with incompatible and siloed data. With Colabra, teams can track research progress, collaborate across stakeholders, and better utilize data collected across the organization.
You previously worked in R&D in other industries and were frustrated by solutions available to you. Please tell us about those experiences.
I used to do battery materials research and had the opportunity to publish papers, receive patents, and even lead grants from the Department of Energy. I eventually left R&D work because I realized it could take decades for an R&D project to be commercialized. I decided to move into software and data science, believing I could have a greater impact more quickly.
I noticed that many of the best practices commonplace in software development, like collaborative code reviews, DevOps, and agile project management methodologies, weren’t being utilized in the scientific world.
As I moved into software, I noticed that many of the best practices commonplace in software development, like collaborative code reviews, DevOps, and agile project management methodologies, weren’t being utilized in the scientific world. Because of this, scientists were making avoidable errors and wasting time during the research process.
We built Colabra to serve organizations looking to bring about digital transformation. We help them streamline R&D workflows, increase productivity, improve data management and security, and enhance reproducibility.
Tell us about Colabra’s solutions and what problems they solve for customers.
The way that scientific research is done today is flawed in many ways.
When most scientific teams do research, they operate in silos instead of regularly sharing their data with each other. They work with large chunks of deliverables rather than building momentum with smaller milestones. And they have slow feedback loops rather than making decisions quickly and making the most of their time. As a result, scientists today spend a lot of time on what are essentially administrative tasks for their data.
We created Colabra to help scientific teams improve their research workflows, increase productivity, and collect better data. We’ve done this by developing a suite of high-quality R&D tools and a unified platform for the team’s data, people, and processes.
How does Colabra unify an R&D team’s processes, data and people?
Colabra helps teams work more efficiently, streamline data management, and communicate across stakeholders, all while ensuring compliance.
The first way we’ve done this is with our project management features. Traditional top-down management tools don’t work in scientific workplaces because R&D involves constant adaptation to new findings. You might plan to pursue specific research ideas at the beginning of a project, but your work is nearly always going to be dependent on the early set of experimental results. We understand the need for scientific management tools to be adaptable.
Traditional top-down management tools don’t work in scientific workplaces because R&D involves constant adaptation to new findings.
Colabra enables you to take larger milestones and break them down into individual experiments and assess dependencies between these experiments, so that you can allocate resources effectively to minimize blockers. Every experiment belongs to a larger project, and every team member knows what they need to do to move the research forward. This helps teams build momentum, gives them more confidence in their ability to hit milestones reliably, and helps everyone know what the rest of the team is working on.
We built out our electronic lab notebook to centralize all of a company’s structured and unstructured data in one searchable place. This includes file attachments, images, PDFs, external 3rd party software and hardware products, and other supplementary data. Over the last few years, the volume, diversity, and complexity of scientific data have exponentially increased, making it difficult for scientists to stay on top of all of the data that they collect. Scientists, as a result, either lose a ton of data (on average, losing nearly 20% of organizational scientific data every year*), or rely on homegrown solutions hacked together with custom code and generalist components.
We built out our electronic lab notebook to centralize all of a company’s structured and unstructured data in one searchable place.
With Colabra, you have a single source of truth – you can trace how experiments evolve over time and you can find how data collected on different applications relate to each other.
Teams buy new software tools to improve their workflow, increase productivity, and kickstart organizational change. But this can’t happen without the rest of the team buying into the shared vision of a better organization.
Where a team might traditionally share important context for their research over email, Slack, or Microsoft teams (all of which get lost over time) these teams now use Colabra,
Colabra isn’t used by individual scientists in a silo – everything is done at a team level. Teams can tag colleagues and comment directly on experiments, so scientists can surface challenges and discuss problems immediately from a shared context. This allows for faster decision-making and eliminates the need for endless emails and meetings. Additionally, most scientific work isn’t done by individual scientists – there are typically many stakeholders, with handoffs between team members and between teams. Where a team might traditionally share important context for their research over email, Slack, or Microsoft teams (all of which get lost over time) these teams now use Colabra, so that the data is always traceable, from initial materials to final results, even many years in the future.
How are Colabra’s solutions used in compliant workflows and why is compliance important?
21 CFR Part 11 compliance and GxP compliance are crucial for scientific software because they ensure the integrity, accuracy, and reliability of electronic data used in regulated industries, such as biotech and pharmaceuticals. These regulations and guidelines are important to ensure that electronic data can be used for patent and IP applications. For example, it is expected that data should be attributable, legible, contemporaneously recorded, original, or a true copy.
Compliance with these regulations and guidelines can be time-consuming, requiring significant effort to locate all the necessary documents and comply with the requirements. However, when teams use Colabra, they can focus entirely on their research, rather than spending resources on patent and IP needs, because compliant workflows have been built directly into our product.
Additionally, Colabra implements FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and regional standards such as GDPR, ePrivacy, CCPA, LGPD, and PECR in its workflows.
What is the value of Colabra joining the Tetra Partner Network?
Colabra and TetraScience are united in their goals to improve the efficiency and reproducibility of science. Essential to that is providing access to scientific data that is FAIR, liquid, compliant, and actionable. That’s TetraScience’s strength. Combined with Colabra’s ability to streamline research workflows for scientific teams, together we can help our customers accelerate scientific insights and outcomes.
Combined with Colabra’s ability to streamline research workflows for scientific teams, together we can help our customers accelerate scientific insights and outcomes.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Colabra offers a 1-month pilot with guided onboarding for all new users, which includes 1:1 training sessions to fully utilize the Colabra platform and seminars to teach project management practices. If you’d like to start your 1-month free pilot, contact Colabra at firstname.lastname@example.org.