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Hollie Barton, senior director, Chromatographic Services, for the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific, reviews the company’s latest moves in targeting automation.
Hollie Barton, senior director, Chromatographic Services, for the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific, spoke with BioPharm International® at AAPS PharmSci 360 about how PPD is targeting automation advances to address the bio/pharma industry’s need to move more efficiently and quickly, especially when adding staff alone is not always the answer.
“2023, through the latter part of 2023, and into 2024 have been by far our biggest investment in information technology (IT),” Barton says. “We are looking at automation from a front-end to the back-end—fully automated workflows—and, so, it's pretty exciting to see some of the robotics that are showing up in the laboratories.”
Barton also expresses enthusiasm about how PPD is also adding teams, such as an informatics team, which functions between the operations group and the IT group, bridging the gap between the two groups. Having the informatics group in place results in the addition of analytic dashboards, according to Barton.
“We're using those dashboards to hone in on ensuring we are right first-time [allowing us to] focus on quality and ensure that errors that are repetitive are being addressed, and that is being done through process improvements using that automation,” Barton states.
The company has also added a group called PPI—practical process improvement. “That team is looking at efficiencies and evaluating automation, while following the workflow of the departments,” she says. Even with just the smallest changes recommended by the PPI team, such as reducing the number of steps between work stations or work areas, the company is already seeing improvements, she notes.
AAPS PharmSci 360 ran Oct. 22–25 in Orlando, Fl.
View Barton’s video interviews on analytical challenges in meeting turnaround times and analytical personnel training.