Case Studies Startup

Powering faster R&D and innovation in veterinary diagnostics at PathoSense

3 min read 29 May 2024

“Working with eLabNext has allowed PathoSense to have smoother, faster R&D. Thanks to the multiple tools offered, it is now possible for us to progress towards innovation without having to worry about where crucial information has been stored, such as SOPs, protocols, or experiment notes.”

Adelaide Panattoni, R&D Scientist and PhD candidate at PathoSense

PathoSense

Diagnostics in veterinary medicine can be challenging, but PathoSense is a startup company on a mission to change this. Founded in 2020 as a spin-out from the University of Ghent’s Laboratory of Virology in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the company has pioneered a platform that provides veterinarians with much-needed complete diagnostics of infectious diseases.

Covering sample collection to diagnostic interpretation, the platform is based on nanopore third-generation sequencing and circumnavigates key diagnostic challenges in veterinary diagnostics; having to pre-select pathogens for analysis, and performing a correct sample collection. In addition, the company also provides both bacterial and viral sequencing services to other companies and knowledge institutions.

Goals

Short-term: PathoSense aims to provide its clients with the most up-to-date tools for analysing data via its constant research in the fields of microbiome analysis, bacterial and viral whole genome sequencing. This allows both the company and its clients to be at the forefront of innovation in the veterinary diagnostics field.

Long-term: The PathoSense diagnostic assay has already revolutionized the field of veterinary diagnostics by allowing veterinarians to screen for pathogens without prior selection. Looking ahead, PathoSense wants to expand its cutting-edge assay by setting up partnerships with other laboratories in Europe. This will allow the company to guarantee better monitoring of infectious diseases in veterinary medicine and enable faster, more accurate treatments. In addition, PathoSense also has a strong R&D focus to guarantee the constant improvement of the services it offers.

Challenges

Before implementing eLabNext digital lab solutions, PathoSense felt it was lacking an organised system to keep track of experiments. Both routine work and R&D experiments were poorly annotated, often only on personal paper notebooks. As a consequence, it was difficult to monitor research progress, and experiments were not easily replicable. Without a clear and structured description of the experiments, it was hard to keep track of what needed to be maintained or adapted. This often resulted in the necessity to consult with individuals, costing additional time.

In addition, protocols, together with parts of experiment notes, were stored in a shared Google Drive folder. This did not facilitate document tracking, hindering the ability to locate the newest version of protocols. Consequently, errors were sometimes committed due to the use of a non-optimised version of the protocol.

Finally, sample tracking was organised by a list on a sheet, without the facility to add metadata or to quickly identify the exact locations of samples, making the process laborious as well as ineffective. 

Solution

In order to create a more organised and easily trackable process, PathoSense decided to implement eLabNext’s digital lab solutions based on the software’s ability to keep track of experiments, protocols and samples all in one platform. The company selected to adopt the eLabJournal digital lab platform that combines ELN (electronic notebook) and LIMS (laboratory information management system) capabilities. In addition, PathoSense also adopted the eLabInventory inventory management and eLabProtocols web-based protocol and SOP management platforms. It was hoped that the resulting efficiencies would enable the company focus on its research, facilitating growth. 

Results

The implementation of eLabNext’s digital lab solutions at PathoSense proved very successful. By providing a centralised platform to manage, track and document the company’s R&D, eLabNext played a central role in the company’s growth process as a startup.

Easier protocol and SOP management

The adoption of eLabJournal and eLabProtocols at PathoSense had a very positive impact on the way the company accessed and managed its protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Following implementation, protocols were always up-to-date and easy to find for all involved, saving the company both time and money.

Accessible experimental data

A particular highlight for PathoSense was the experiment browser feature of eLabJournal. By using this tool, the company can now track down all experiment information in a timely and efficient manner. This has had a hugely positive impact on the company’s progression in R&D and—consequently—on provided services and veterinary diagnostics.

Organised sample tracking

eLabInventory delivered a clear, easy and accessible way to keep track of both sample location and available storage space for new projects—which was a much-needed solution for PathoSense. Thanks to the easy-access lab inventory database, the company was able to revolutionise its sample storage for maximum efficiency and to significantly scale up the total volume of samples.

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