Time is money in the field of drug discovery and development. Because it takes as long as 10 years to bring a new therapeutic to market, pharmaceutical companies are continually looking for ways to reduce time requirements at every step of the drug discovery and development process.
The staff at Takeda’s Quality Control facility in Lexington, Massachusetts wanted to reduce its rate of failed assays in order to deliver key data more quickly. Assay investigations can cause data delivery delays and loss of analyst time for repeat runs. With some assays taking up to a week to run, improvements in this area would have significant impact.
Takeda’s challenge was to understand and control the degree to which human error was the cause of a failed assay result. The company believed that if they could quantify and manage how much human error was contributing to the assays, then they could reduce variability and improve their efficiency and assay success rate.
Working with Artel, Takeda developed an analyst qualification program using the same technology it uses to verify and calibrate its robotic liquid handlers. The implementation of the comprehensive program not only reduced assay failures but also helped the company transfer assays from bench to automation by using the same measurement standard for each phase of the process. The company has been able to significantly improve the overall accuracy and precision of liquid transfers by both analysts and robots.