eLabBlog

Democratising the Digital Tools for Biotech: The Power of eLabNext Developer

By Zareh Zurabyan 9 min read 22 May 2024

eLabNext Developer is the newest addition to our Digital Lab Platform (DLP). It’s the 1st ever democratic end-to-end developer experience that allows you to build new or extend existing functionalities to automateintegrate, and optimise your lab operations in a sustainable, secure, and compliant digital ecosystem. 

With the launch of our Developer portal, we are democratising access to your favourite digital molecular biology, chemistry, and AI tools, elevating your lab’s day-to-day operations, and revolutionising how your researchers do research!

The core feature of eLabNext Developer is that it enables companies and third-party vendors using the eLabNext Biotech software-as-a-service (SaaS) to develop their add-ons on top of our core platform. This capability has several high-value benefits for both developers (via eLabNext Developer) and eLabNext customers (via eLab Marketplace), as discussed below.

Opportunity to Reach a New Audience

A developer portal can be a stage where developers can showcase their add-ons to users of the underlying platform. By listing their add-ons in the eLab Marketplace, third-party vendors gain exposure to our highly targeted audience of potential customers already using the core eLabNext platform. These users will likely be interested in complementary solutions that enhance their software’s functionality, making it an ideal place for vendors to showcase their offerings. This eliminates the need for vendors to invest time and resources into marketing independently, allowing them to focus exclusively on developing high-quality add-ons instead.

While an add-on may be offered for free through a platform, exposure to this new audience can indirectly lead to monetisation, either through additional purchases or subscriptions from the add-on company outside of eLabNext.

Community Engagement

Community engagement provides add-on developers with a valuable feedback loop for their products. Exposure to a new audience can provide add-on developers with a new way of interacting with users and tracking usage statistics. Vendors can gather insights into how their services are being used within the eLabNext platform, what features are most valued, and where there may be room for improvement. 

This feedback helps vendors refine their existing offerings and validates the market demand for their solutions. Additionally, engaging with the existing eLabNext community allows vendors to build relationships with potential customers, establish credibility, and gain valuable product endorsements by associating with an established and trusted brand.

Flexible Functionalities

Allowing companies to develop their add-ons enables them to complement the software better to suit their specific needs. This can increase efficiency and productivity, as eLabNext customers can tailor the software to fit their workflows.

Tailored Solutions to Unique Needs

The flexibility offered by the eLabNext Developer portal allows customers to tailor the platform to their specific requirements. Customers in the biotech industry often have unique workflows, data management needs, and compliance requirements. With access to a wide range of add-ons developed by third-party vendors, customers can choose and integrate solutions that best fit their needs, ensuring that the platform aligns closely with their business processes and objectives.

Adaptability to Changing Requirements

Biotech research and development is a dynamic field characterised by rapid advancements and evolving regulatory landscapes. Customers need software solutions that can adapt to these changes quickly and seamlessly. The flexibility eLabDeveloper provides enables developers to create add-ons to address this new requirement and allows customers to quickly and easily adapt to these changing requirements in the eLab Marketplace. For instance, the NIH recently required all grant applications to submit a data management and sharing plan (DMP). DMPTool, a recent addition to the eLab Marketplace, enables eLabNext users to pull DMPs from DMPTool and present plan summaries within eLabNext, along with a link to download the complete plan. 

Flexible User Experience

Every organisation within the biotech industry may have different preferences and priorities regarding user experience. The flexibility offered by eLab Marketplace allows customers to customise the user interface, data visualisation tools, reporting capabilities, and other aspects of the platform to match their preferences and workflows. This level of customisation enhances user satisfaction, productivity, and overall usability, as customers can tailor the platform to meet their teams’ unique needs and preferences.

Scalability

The eLabDeveloper portal allows add-on creators to create a vibrant ecosystem around the core eLabNext platform. As more developers contribute add-ons, the software’s overall functionality and usefulness have grown rapidly and will continue to grow. This scalability ensures that the software remains relevant and competitive in the long term.

Laboratories in the biotech industry often experience workload and resource fluctuations due to project timelines, research initiatives, and regulatory demands. A scalable Biotech SaaS platform like eLabNext allows customers to scale up their software usage as their needs grow. This means handling larger datasets, accommodating more users, and supporting increased computational demands without compromising performance or stability.

Biotech labs may also need to expand their operations or collaborate with external partners, such as academic institutions, research organisations, or contract research organisations (CROs). eLabNext enables customers to seamlessly onboard new users, integrate additional data sources, and extend access to collaborators without significant infrastructure investments or disruptions to ongoing activities. This flexibility fosters collaboration, accelerates research efforts, and facilitates knowledge sharing across interdisciplinary teams.

Scalability also allows customers to embrace future innovations more rapidly without constraints. By investing in eLabNext, customers future-proof their operations, enabling them to stay ahead of the curve, capitalise on new opportunities, and drive continuous advancements in biotechnology.

Reduced Development Costs 

Leveraging the creativity and expertise of third-party developers can reduce the development costs associated with expanding the functionality. Instead of building every feature in-house, customers can rely on the eLabDeveloper community to contribute ideas and solutions, saving time and resources.

Instead of investing time and resources in developing software solutions from scratch, customers can select off-the-shelf functionalities that meet their requirements. This saves on development costs and accelerates the implementation timeline, allowing customers to integrate new features into their workflows quickly.

Shared Development Costs Across the Community

It also saves add-on developers money. eLabNext Developer fosters a collaborative ecosystem where multiple developers can contribute to creating add-ons. As a result, development costs are shared across the community, reducing the financial burden on individual customers. By pooling resources and expertise, customers can access a wide range of functionalities at a fraction of the cost of developing them independently.

Cost-Effective Functional Expansion Over Time

While customisation is essential to meet specific business needs, developing custom solutions can be expensive for eLabNext customers. With the eLab Marketplace portal, customers can customise the platform using existing add-ons, significantly reducing the cost of expanding functions.

In-house development requires ongoing maintenance and support to keep the software up-to-date and address any issues. By relying on the eLab Marketplace portal, customers benefit from continuous updates made by developers in eLabNext Developer and support provided by third-party vendors. This ensures that the software remains current and functional without additional investment in maintenance and support services.

Faster Innovation

Access to eLab Marketplace provides eLabNext customers with an agile way to find cutting-edge features and capabilities without waiting for lengthy development cycles. As a result, customers can stay ahead of the curve and leverage the latest advancements in biotechnology to drive innovation in their research and development activities.

The biotech industry is characterised by rapid technological advancements, evolving regulatory requirements, and shifting market dynamics. The interplay between eLabNext Developer and eLab Marketplace enables customers to respond quickly to these changes by adopting new functionalities and tools as they become available. By staying agile and adaptable, customers can capitalise on emerging trends, seize opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Just look at the emergence of voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa. This technology has recently been applied in laboratories and incorporated into the eLab Marketplace with the addition of the ASCENSCIA add-on. It provides an easy way for eLabNext users to access information and record data while working in the lab, freeing up their hands and allowing them to focus on their experiments.

Streamlined Workflows & Automation

With access to the eLab Marketplace, customers can create custom automated workflows tailored to their specific needs. They can develop scripts, plugins, or integrations that automate repetitive tasks, such as data processing, analysis, or report generation. 

End-to-End Automation

Customers can automate entire end-to-end processes by orchestrating multiple tasks and integrations within the system. They can automate data collection, analysis, and visualisation workflows, leading to faster insights and decision-making. eLabNext’s integration with Elemental Machines, a temperature detection system, is a great example of how add-ons can facilitate automation in a life sciences laboratory.

Robotics Control and Integration

Robots in biotech labs often perform repetitive tasks such as pipetting, sample handling, or plate manipulation. By integrating robots with the system’s developer platform, customers can automate these tasks, reducing the need for manual intervention and improving throughput and efficiency.

Workflow Orchestration

Automation allows customers to orchestrate complex workflows involving multiple instruments and robotic systems. They can develop scripts or plugins that control the sequence of operations, coordinate interactions between robots and instruments, and optimise resource allocation to maximise productivity.

Integration with External Systems

Automation facilitates integration with external systems, databases, or software platforms, enabling customers to exchange data seamlessly between different tools and environments. For example, add-on developers can develop software that interfaces with the eLabNext platform or other data analysis software to streamline data exchange and collaboration.

Quality Control and Assurance

Real-Time Monitoring and Feedback

Automated systems can monitor instrument performance and data quality in real time, detecting anomalies or deviations from expected norms. Add-ons available in the eLab Marketplace can help customers trigger alerts or notifications when issues arise, enabling immediate corrective actions to ensure data integrity and experimental reproducibility.

Standardisation and Compliance 

Automation enforces standardised procedures and quality control measures, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, industry standards, and best practices. Customers can develop automated workflows using eLabNext that enforce validation checks, calibration routines, and data integrity controls, minimising the risk of errors and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Audit Trails and Documentation

Automated systems maintain detailed audit trails and documentation of instrument usage, experimental protocols, and data processing steps. Customers can use the eLabNext platform to generate automated reports, logs, and documentation that comprehensively record experimental activities, facilitating traceability, reproducibility, and regulatory audits.

Conclusion

In the rapidly evolving biotechnology landscape, the convergence of automation, robotics, and data integration is paving the way for rapid advancements. With eLabNext Developer enabling add-on developers to integrate with the eLabNext platform and eLab Marketplace, enabling eLabNext customers to seamlessly expand and tailor functionality, biotech labs can harness the power of automation to streamline workflows, enhance precision, and drive innovation. 

By controlling robots and receiving real-time data from instruments, researchers can accelerate experimentation, scale effectively, optimise resource utilisation, and ensure data integrity. This transformative approach increases efficiency and productivity and opens new frontiers in research and development. As biotech continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible, the future undoubtedly lies in the seamless integration of automation technologies, positioning it at the forefront of scientific discovery and breakthrough innovation.

To see eLabNext’s Developer or Marketplace portals and hear about how these tools have improved digitalisation in the life sciences, send us a request and schedule your demonstration today.

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