Innovating with a HoloLens and Drones

An interview with Oscar Kox, CEO of iVention
April 1, 2022

iVention, maker of a powerful Laboratory Execution System (iLES), joined the Tetra Partner Network late last year. We sat down with Oscar Kox, CEO of iVention, for an extended conversation.

Oscar, please tell us a little bit about your background and your company.

After finishing my Bachelor of Science in Analytical Chemistry, I started my career at Givaudan, the taste and flavor maker. During my time in the lab, I quickly identified my high energy level and interest in Lab IT. Not long after, I joined LabSystems, which is currently the Informatics group of Thermo Fisher Scientific. During my 7 years at Thermo Informatics I visited many labs and experienced many different aspects of Lab Informatics projects.

Understanding laboratory processes was exciting but did not gave me the business insights I was looking for – therefore I completed an MBA program at the University of Phoenix and was one of the youngest European enrollees in the program. After that, I helped a growing, London-based ELN provider expand their global footprint. During my extensive work with ELN projects, I could now see “two worlds” together: LIMS in the QA/QC world and ELNs in R&D. Two separate worlds that had many challenges in connecting their applications, two worlds that oftentimes used old technology. So, many challenges which could be solved by innovation.

Founding iVention was a logical next step: Create a platform to support both R&D and QA/QC, and critically, utilize newer, cloud-based, technology. The iLES platform was invented!

We launched iLES 12 years ago, and it is now implemented in many different labs as a single platform. Our customers range from pharmaceutical companies who use our validated iLES platform in Biology/Chemistry R&D, material testing, diagnostics, and large biobanks.To achieve this, we knew the iVention team needed a strong foundation of domain experience and expertise. 

Our whole team has previously worked for conventional Lab IT vendors and are passionate about the need for change in Laboratory Intelligent Informatics solutions.

Our whole team has previously worked for conventional Lab IT vendors and are passionate about the need for change in Laboratory Intelligent Informatics solutions. Our platform was built from scratch to operate as a Cloud based application and serve all organizations as a Cloud based Lab Informatics platform. Our tenants are:

  • Cloud Laboratory Entity based model
  • LES is more than LIMS
  • Some Clouds are more Scientific than others!

Currently we have more than 50,000 end users and hundreds of installations worldwide.

What makes iVention unique?

  • Automated updates, no more long update projects!
  • iVention is an independent privately owned Lab Informatics supplier (seems unique nowadays not having the need for VC money!)
  • Automated OQ scripts for Pharma and easy upgrade path with limited additional validation. iVention releases an automated OQ run every 4 weeks!

Over 2,500 automated test scripts are ready for all our validated customers:

Graphical user interface, text, applicationDescription automatically generated

What problems does your product solve?

As indicated, iLES is a cloud-based lab informatics platform. We solve many industry challenges by offering a configurable platform: you can find all our managed industries here:

Please take a minute to visit the site as so many industries have taken iLES as their platform of choice.

iLES is an innovative Lab Execution System for (Bio)Pharma organizations that improves efficiency and quality of Lab Processes. It enables (Bio)Pharma laboratories and research organizations to streamline workflows and manage and computerize work - even in highly regulated environments.

The powerful and flexible iLES Platform is 100% web-based, affordable, and can be easily deployed from the Cloud and used on any (mobile) device. With iLES (Bio)Pharma organizations unlock real-time information, ensure data integrity and regulatory compliance, while saving time and cost by efficient process automation, reduced manual data handling, and free automated upgrades.  

  • Pharma
  • Biopharma

What changes have you seen in the last 5 years within the life sciences informatics market?

The change in lab informatics is the need to go from on premise to cloud. For me it is a given that Cloud should be an organizational strategy – any other approach throws an organization back in time. Still, organizations run on conventional LIMS, highly customized and not upgradable. This prevents customers from building competitive advantage.

Still, organizations run on conventional LIMS, highly customized and not upgradable. This prevents customers from building competitive advantage.

The coming changes are more intelligence in software applications. The ones we all know are self-driving cars. Technology for laboratories are Low/No code platforms (like iLES), easy connectivity (Bluetooth?) intelligence for data processing and decision making within the laboratories, all supported by iLES.

Organizing and introducing the mixed-reality Microsoft HoloLens with iLES, we done it already!

Afbeelding met tekst, personAutomatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Afbeelding met binnen, kantoor, bureau, tafelAutomatisch gegenereerde beschrijving
The iVention platform and the HoloLens in use within the lab. iLES can provide drone ready instructions to deliver or receive samples!

Delivering samples and/or returning material via drones, there is so much that’s possible…

What kind of impact has Covid had on customer needs and expectations?

Covid made it painfully clear that with conventional client server installations, many labs could not support “working from home”. Access to the data was not possible as data was on premise or needed to be taken out by Excel first. iVention could provide data access from anywhere and we could upgrade our customers without interference from human handling. We supported projects, configurations and go live moments during Covid. I was personally very proud of our platform but also our teams who supported this whole process from their home offices.

What role does data play in laboratory automation and remote work?

As said, remote work and Cloud are or better said should be a given for all professional organizations.

What’s the biggest data challenge customers have?

Since I have finished my Analytical Chemistry education it is mind blowing to see how small instruments have become:

A Mass spec from the old days, covering at least 1.5 meters (left) and a handheld mass spec (right), with more data output than from the old days!

Instruments can produce so much data, many times more than in the past. The challenge is to understand how to process more data using fewer people and getting the most out of the datasets.

Having solutions from TetraScience and iLES, labs can process large amounts of data, and utilize (artificial) intelligence on these data sets. For example, iLES has introduced the Elastic Search engine, which creates a comprehensive intelligent search on all data within iLES!

How would you describe the benefits of being part of the Tetra Partner Network?

  • Being able to offer data liquidity, instrument software updates, faster workflows
  • Finding new common customers, working together

The new technology that laboratories need is not being offered by the conventional (LIMS) vendors. Being part of the Tetra Partner Network enables iVention and TetraScience to strengthen the message and push for new technology and reap the benefits of this. The time is now!

TetraScience is driving an open data ecosystem for science and analytics. How important is unrestricted data innovation to customers?

The need for an open data platform approach and ease of connectivity is KEY for supporting new technology.

The need for an open data platform approach and ease of connectivity is KEY for supporting new technology. Why is it that I can find a (phone/tablet) charger anywhere within a couple of minutes… To connect an instrument and understand the file output, it takes ….(fill in by your own experience). Common files from instruments should be as common as a phone charger….

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