In May 2023, my colleague, Sarah Princen, and I attended the “Bio-IT World 2023 Conference and Expo” in Boston, MA. We represented Binocs alongside 1,500 other attendees and 158 sponsors and exhibitors. The agenda consisted of 12 different tracks spanning the technology spectrum. The majority of sponsors and exhibitors were companies in the cloud storage or data management space. Various consulting groups and LIMS vendors were also present. Below I briefly outline what we took away from the event.
Bio-IT World 2023 highlights
We attended the “Automation, Digital Lab & Robotics” track as the most pertinent to our interests at Binocs. Indeed, every presentation was excellent and highly relevant. The speakers were predominantly representatives from Big Pharma and Biotech organizations. They presented insights from their lab digitization initiatives, as well as sharing various best practices and lessons learned. Some key highlights include:
- Sanofi discussed the digitalization of their lab and the importance of implementing a comprehensive digital transformation program. This focused primarily on sample and inventory management.
- During the plenary panel discussion about how pharma makes tech investment decisions, Janssen outlined their data management policies. They also discussed the complications inherent in working with external parties/clients who require more information than they are prepared to provide.
- BMS presented their “Instrument Digital Twin”. This new user-centric platform enables labs to view and manage all their equipment information via system-agnostic APIs.
- Regeneron were very enthusiastic about their in-house instrument optimization software, which they now use to measure “utilization across 600 of the most expensive and/or lab space constrained instruments”. They use the resulting data to “make informed decisions to change processes or defer capital purchases that optimize utilization of a given instrument”.
Bio-IT World 2023 key takeaways
Our key takeaway from the Bio-IT World 2023 conference was that (as demonstrated by the above links) Binocs and Bluecrux continue to operate at the leading edge of trends in laboratory digital transformation. None of the presentations covered the usage, vision or need to incorporate both analysts and instrumentation in lab scheduling and capacity planning processes: their planning mostly considered only instruments or samples, with staff planning being handled separately. This further demonstrates the importance of what we do at Binocs and confirms that we are well-equipped to meet challenges as they emerge in lab digitalization.
It is also worth noting that the pharma/biotech presenters each outlined a completely different method and ideology underpinning their specific lab digitalization strategies. None of them demonstrated having a full, end-to-end picture, nor any streamlined processes for all of their sites/labs, but everyone mentioned the critical role of change management. There didn’t appear to be any consistency across the organizations regarding which department or level was driving the lab digitalization initiatives. While some companies partnered with consulting services to assist in delivering digital transformation, this was by no means a universal approach.
We will continue to network, follow up, and keep abreast of the industry at future events!
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