Jim Aurelio, LabVantage Solutions
LabVantage Solutions is an innovative global provider of enterprise software solutions tailored for laboratories serving research, development, analytical, and quality management laboratories across multiple industries. In August 2009, the company announced the acquisition of the SQL*LIMS business from Applied Biosystems, a part of Life Technologies. With this acquisition, LabVantage has expanded its product and service portfolios in the field of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). G.I.T. laborytory Journal Europe spoke to Jim Aurelio, the President & CEO, to understand LabVantage's company direction, market strategy, and future plans for its product offerings, including SQL*LIMS and Sapphire.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal Europe: What are the changes in the LIMS market and how has your market position changed as a result of this acquisition?
Jim Aurelio: Merging the teams, together creates a global presence that is unparalleled in the industry. With more than 250 dedicated LIMS employees and 40,000 users around the world, plus an extensive partner network, LabVantage is well positioned to meet the laboratory informatics needs of organizations.
Before the merger, LabVantage maintained a direct presence in North America, the United Kingdom, India, and China. Today, we have significantly expanded our market presence to Europe, creating a strong direct presence with local domain experts in the Western European countries, including Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Spain. For instance, our customers in Germany now receive 24/5 customer support and are able to attend our customer events conducted in German language.
As far as the market changes are concerned, we observed that magnified by today‘s economy, the unprecedented pressures to meet business objectives and maximize the return on investment on LIMS project have put many organizations into the most challenging circumstance. Therefore, we have coupled our Sapphire Quality Management Solution with a guaranteed implementation to eliminate the risks associated with system implementation with no compromise on quality. Moreover, our SQL*LIMS Plug & Play Pharma Package (P4) is pre-configured and pre-validated to reduce implementation time and expense for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology organizations.
With SQL*LIMS and Sapphire you now offer two different LIMS software solutions. What are the differences between the two products and what are the strengths of each of them?
Jim Aurelio: Sapphire is a modern, zero footprint solution tailored to manage an organization's laboratory information across its worldwide R&D pipeline and manufacturing supply chain. As a configurable off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, it consolidates functionality typically found in multiple laboratory systems. Moreover, with its combination of solutions-oriented modules and multi-nationalization support, it delivers the complete and versatile, multi-site, and multi-language informatics backbone for the laboratory enterprise.
SQL*LIMS is a fully integrated, rich LIMS ideally suited to manage an organization's product development, quality management, and analytical laboratories. For example, in addition to SQL*LIMS P4 mentioned earlier, SQL*LIMS Micro/EM is specifically designed for paperless micro-biology environmental monitoring (EM) to improve the performance of EM operations by eliminating inefficiencies and reducing the error rates inherent in manual, paper-based systems.
Do you plan a merger of the two products or will you develop both products independently from each other?
Jim Aurelio: LabVantage is committed to continuing support the SQL*LIMS product in accordance with the pre-existing support level matrix. We have a sound plan in place to enable our customers to upgrade to SQL*LIMS v.6, which will be powered by Sapphire. The upgraded version will provide the rich functionality of SQL*LIMS on the Sapphire technology platform - a zero-footprint, thin-client application. Therefore, this version will embrace additional functional features available in Sapphire. We will also provide more details on product upgrade and roadmap in the upcoming Customer Training & Education Conference 2010 in April, Orlando, USA and the conference tour in Europe in May.
What are the new features of the recently released SQL*LIMS Service Pack 7 (SP7) and the upcoming Sapphire Release 5.1?
Jim Aurelio: The SQL*LIMS SP7 release includes a number of enhancements and offers new additional capabilities including enhanced graphical user interface, extended dashboard, advanced calculation verification capabilities, native Crystal Reports support, and Microsoft Windows Vista support. R5.1 will add new functionality for both quality management and research & development operations. Some of the new key features include the enhanced Data Entry, eForms, BioBanking, and Clinical Data & Kit Management features. The key enhancements and new functionality mentioned above will also be demonstrated in our upcoming conferences, including Analytica in Munich, Germany and Pittcon in Orlando, USA.
Who are the new customers you wish to address with the expanded portfolio?
Jim Aurelio: The SQL*LIMS business has served the LIMS market for more than 20 years and maintains a strong reputation in serving the quality management market across multiple industries. LabVantage has served the LIMS market from research and development through quality management. Accordingly, SQL*LIMS customers will gain access to a broader portfolio of solutions, including the Corrective Action and Preventive Action (CAPA), Stability& Shelf-Life Testing, and Advanced Storage and Logistics (ASL), and BioBanking modules with our ongoing commitment to world-class customer service. Also, our Sapphire customers in many European countries now have access to 24/5 local support and events in their local country regions and languages.