What are the benefits of ELN?
As the top three Big Pharma in the world, why did Johnson & Johnson start electronic lab notebook early in 2000?
Why are many Big Phmarma using electronic lab notebooks?
What are the benefits of electronic lab notebook (ELN)?
What is the ROI of ELN?
Cross platform ELN: PCs, Laptop, Tablets, Mobile phone
In this article, it is discussed that electronic lab notebook (ELN) is not only an electronic substitute for paper lab notebook(PLN), but also has the opportunity to help R&D companies to establish historical R&D databases and greatly improve the quality of experimental data. Science and research is built on history, and will have better future if the history is reachable. As Newton once said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Compared to paper laboratory notebook (PLN), ELN can reduce recording time and search time, easier to replicate successful experiments and avoid failed ones. As a result, scientists will have more time for experiments and analysis, which will greatly improve resource efficiency and R&D output.
>>> ELN Return On Investment (ROI)<<<
In the past 10 years, ELN are replacing paper lab notebook (PLN) on a large scale worldwide. Especially in the field of biopharmaceuticals, the scope of application field is getting wider and wider. The penetration rate of companies using ELN has grown from less than 5% to more than 60% today (2018, United States).
In addition, there are now excellent suppliers of ELN to choose from, and they are mature and stable in terms of system stability, safety, compliance and functions, such as PE Enotebook, Integle ELN (InELN), Labarchives, Benchling, etc. Compared with the "hybrid" mode where ELN are printed out and manually signed in 2004, the current regulations recognize the use of electronic data and electronic signatures throughout the R&D process, which has become the standard for intellectual property management and data originality supervision practice (GMP/GLP/GCP).
Integle ELN meets the FDA CFR 21 PART 11 requirements
Thanks to advances in their research and development, the first pioneers of using ELN have been able to feel the real benefits brought to them by ELN.
ELN can be used to assess benefits through Return On Investment (ROI). For example, it can reduce company's operating costs, so that the company's management can make more reasonable choices. According to Sharon Sperber, from Johnson & Johnson, the return on investment of the ELN project is based on a 10% time savings for scientists. According to Atriumresearch investigation, considering different R&D scenarios, the return on investment of the ELN project is about 20%.
>> Johnson & Johnson uses ELN <<<
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals explored and implemented ELN during 2000-2010, replacing PLN.
Johnson & Johnson began investigations of the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) project in 2005, and then completed the implementation in API and drug development business unit in 2008. The company has now expanded the use of electronic lab notebooks (ELN) to other units (2010, United States). The implementation of this project has helped Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals in many ways, some were expected and some were unexpected.
According to Sharon Sperber, the manager of ELN for Johnson & Johnson, the project's initial return on investment was based on expectations of saving scientists 10% of their time. At the same time, Speber also said: "The goal of saving time has been achieved, but other benefits, such as knowledge sharing, knowledge inheritance, and improved compliance and data quality, have a significantly greater impact on organizations. Digitalization is not just paperless." With the increasing globalization of scientific research, sharing knowledge from current and historical employees has proven to be a huge benefit.
Electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) has advantages that paper notebooks cannot achieve: over time, ELN can always retain, quickly search, share, and inherit the historical experience of experiments.
Johnson & Johnson found that electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) improves collaboration efficiency, making it easier for scientists to access more experimental details and supporting data than previous paper experiment records. Many other companies' ELN users have the same feelings and experiences.
According to Sharon Sperber, the improvement of data quality and more detailed data records may far outweigh the benefits of saving scientists' time, allowing the company to succeed in knowledge management, intellectual property protection. The benefits of avoiding repeating failed experiments and promoting repeating successful experiments are significant.
>> Lily uses ELN <<<
Lily ’s chief research scientist and chemical process project leader Michael Kopach said: “The ability of ELN to search the experimental database is one of the most significant advantages. Of course, the practical effect of this advantage will take time. The later ELN is implemented, experimental data accumulation will be delayed. As the experimental data increases, the importance of reusing experimental database increases. This makes it possible to replicate successful experiments and avoid failed experiments, thereby greatly accelerating the progress of new experiments." According to Kopach, Lily has been using Electronic Lab Records (ELN) since 2004.
>>> Merck uses ELN<<<
Schering-Plough (now part of Merck) evaluated the return on investment of ELN project before and after implementation in the medicinal chemistry and biological research unit.
Prior to the deployment of the ELN system, the Schering-Plough team sorted out the experimental workflow recorded by the pilot research unit on paper lab notebook, and analyzed the time it took scientists to write on paper lab notebook.
Two months after the introduction of the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) system, the scientists' work flow was studied again, and the ELN-based recording time was evaluated. According to feedback from Mark Atkinson, head of the molecular design and information science department, the team achieved ELN's expected time savings of 10%, which allowed scientists more time for experiments and analysis.
Most companies attach more importance to the intellectual asset benefits that ELN brings, rather than just improving the efficiency of recording. The effectiveness of ELN depends on the role the scientist plays in the organization.
For example, in the early R&D process, the quantification of benefits is often vague. In development or quality control, ELN plays a very different role. In these scenarios, it can be easier to calculate the improvement of ELN in experimental cycle, experimental throughput, and compliance.
Compliance, knowledge accumulation, collaboration, and IP protection have become the main needs of many users for ELN. ELN suppliers that meet regulatory requirements (such as CFR 21 PART 11, GMP, GLP, GCP, etc) have become one of the primary criteria for selecting ELN suppliers.
>>> AstraZeneca uses ELN<<<
AstraZeneca uses ELN from different ELN vendors in chemical process, medicinal chemistry and QA/QC.
The chemical process team began investigating ELN in 2002 and completed its deployment in 2004. Since its implementation, the process group has benefited from efficiency, while also benefiting from knowledge databases and intellectual property protection.
Ian Menzies, senior information manager at AZ, said: "Replicating experiments is the first great benefit of ELN. More than 80% of the entries in the database are duplicated, which saves more than 70% of the recording time. In addition, it is easier to transfer experimental research and development work to the development team, saving time and reducing errors. After a few years, the medicinal chemistry department also started using ELN. These benefits include a 20% increase in productivity, information sharing, IP protection, data quality improvement and information integration. "
Speaking at a recent electronic lab notebook conference in Brussels, David Drake, AstraZeneca's head of information chemistry for the R&D digital laboratory, said that ELN main function is to replicate successful experiments, avoid failures and share historical data.
ELN also offers:
Stoichiometry provides automatic calculation which reduces manual calculation time and avoids calculation errors;
Document and project management are more structured;
Structure Search enabled and chemical reaction search enabled;
Generating synthetic total scheme automatically to avoid time to redraw;
Chemical structure pictures can be identified by AI as re-editable structure;
Copy and paste chemical structures directly from ChemDraw to avoid wasting time redrawing again in ELN;
Fixed templates to standardize and streamline operations;
With audit trail to ensure the data is true, complete and traceable;
APIs provided to communicate with compound registration & management system, scientific research project management system, reagent inventory system, etc.
>>> Array Biopharm, an ELN pioneer<<<
Array Biopharma was one of the earliest pioneers of starting ELN. The deployment of its electronic laboratory notebook dated back to 2000.
Daniel Weaver, deputy director of scientific computing at Array Biopharma, said: "Although I am skeptical of ROI analysis, ELN does improve the efficiency of our scientists in many ways, such as searching for experimental data, analysis, compound registration and database management." Weaver also expressed a similar view to Kopach. "We believe that the centralized management of data brought by ELN is the main benefit. This provides us with the opportunity to review and improve experimental operations and document management. Centralized management also gives other advantages of electronic lab notebook (ELN), such as accessibility and searchability. We have used this advantage for other relevant business needs, such as working with partners, managing CROs, launching new projects, improving synthetic routes, and more. "
"What is the ROI of ELN?"
Since ELN can be applied in multiple R&D fields, there is no standard answer to the question. People who have used ELN for many years believe that the simplification of records, the inheritance of knowledge, the sharing of knowledge, and the reuse of experimental data are all undisputed efficiency improvements.
Today's technology-based R&D enterprises will definitely find products suitable for themselves in the aspects of recording and centralized management of historical data, search and sharing. This will allow them to stand on the basis of history, achieve sustainable development, and gain a competitive advantage in the future. As Newton said: "If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants."
1. Elliott, Michael H; It's Not About the Paper - Benefits of Electronic Laboratory Notebooks; Scientific Computing Sep 2004
2. Elliott, Michael H;Electronic Laboratory Notebooks: A Foundation for Scientific Knowledge Management; Atrium Research & Consulting, 2009
3. Elliott, Michael H; WhatYou Should Know Before Selecting an ELN: Electronic Laboratory Notebooks have Evolved into Four Distinct Types; Scientific Computing-, Jun 2009
4. Drake, David; Path to a Successful ELN Implementation; IQPC ELN Meeting, Brussels, Belgium; Sep 2009