Today’s modern labs are generating huge amounts of data and processing more samples than ever before. Thus, laboratories are looking for an effective solution that can manage this support and enhance their operations. With the goal of saving time and money, Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), a software platform was introduced, which enables laboratories to manage their data and distribute the results to designated areas. Identifying this increasing deluge of requirements, Genohm stepped into the lab management market in 2011 to streamline the management of data of the modern lab. It develops and maintains on-premise software solutions for laboratory management and will announce release of its cloud solution.
An Innovative Player in the Lab Automation Market
Originally founded in Ghent (Belgium) in 2002 as a small, two-person bio-informatics shop, Genohm re-established itself in 2011 as an EPFL Start-Up at the Innovation Park in Lausanne (Switzerland), focusing on guaranteeing compliance, traceability and big lab data management in highly complex and continuously evolving lab environments. The company is proudly serving a rapidly growing set of customers in widely varying research and clinical environments throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US. Today, it has offices in Lausanne, Ghent, and Durham NC and counts a workforce of 40+ highly trained software and life sciences engineers.
A Complete End-to-End Evolving Solution
Genohm officially entered the lab informatics market with the successful launch of its main laboratory software automation suite named Simple Lab Information Management System (SLIMS). It has been designed to integrate an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN), and a Bio-banking module into a flexible, customizable platform that offers any user the ability to configure the system to match their lab processes and procedures.
At its core, SLIMS is developed to handle the complicated needs of modern lab environments. The lab is a heterogeneous environment where different equipment must interact, such as software, machines, and data in various formats. Labs are required to sustain a dynamic pace, adapting frequently to changing requirements, new technologies, and shifting focus. Genohm believes that the best LIMS for a lab will be fine-tuned to the customer’s needs, empowering them by adapting to their workflow, not the other way around.
While Genohm offer’s a single platform, the system can be configured easily to suit any lab environment. This service is provided by keeping its platform extremely versatile, and makes use of the SLIMS Store, part of the SLIMS ecosystem that allows premade functionalities to be added in a fine-grained manner. After the individual premade parts are added, the lab can adapt these workflows to fit their needs. The system works with many API’s (such as a Python API) to extend functionality even further. After installation, the system has an all-in-one interface, allowing users to seamlessly transition from sample management screens to the ELN and back, and can navigate complex workflows in an intuitive and visually attractive fashion.
A Software Architect
Genohm and SLIMS has grown under the leadership of Frederik Decouttere, CEO. Frederik received his Master degree in Bioscience Engineering at the University of Ghent in Belgium. He focused on applying & evolving software architecture and patterns in the field of bio-informatics during the past 15 years. Since 2002, Frederik acted as CTO for Genohm, for which he served and deployed bioinformatics and LIMS solutions for several fortune-500 life sciences companies, healthcare and R&D labs. In 2010, he was appointed as the new CEO of Genohm.
Quality is the Key
From the onset, Genohm has worked with both small research labs and highly regulated core facilities. The company however, learned that quality is the key even in a non-regulatory environment, and that has greatly focused their objectives with quality a key part of all development activities. SLIMS has been built to the highest standards as Genohm’s methods are ISO 9001:2015 certified, and has features that ensure the quality standards of labs as well. This is done by tracing the history of items and actions, enabling access to be adjusted in detail with user and role management, a group model that allows users to work on the same project or to shield data from other groups, and steps that can be built in to witness or sign off by turning on a simple configuration flag.
Leading the Competition with its Self-service Attitude
Genohm has been successful in populating the challenging niches in the industry which includes complicated workflows in next generation’s sequencing, extensible metadata collection in biobanking, and the need for flexible lab note taking in analytical, academic, research environments. The company stands out from the competition due to its self-service attitude. Genohm has experts that allow it to provide peerless support that is greatly appreciated by its clients.
Genohm allows both the lab manager and lab technicians to focus on their core business activities. According to Genohm, a LIMS should not be a burden to anyone. In SLIMS, the lab manager can configure dashboards to focus on key data at a glance, and the technicians can dive immediately into the protocols, see what is needed and enter only what they need to follow. Due to the extensive automation possibilities like macros and machine interfacing, human error is reduced to a minimum, and when something goes wrong anyway, rules can easily retrieve where and what went wrong and identify other areas of impact. The company’s single interface over all lab operations ensures this.
Taking Time Intervention into Consideration
Genohm believes that ‘Time to Value is of the essence’. The lab marketplace is an environment with growing awareness about cost of ownership and the needs for fast turnaround time. Hence, the company focuses on developments that shorten the times from initial requirements gathering to production, which are summarized into three key points.
Firstly, Genohm’s implementation track was designed to be agile. It developed agile project management methods that allow early feedback and integrate training into the actual implementation trajectory. Secondly, its architecture is built in a way that any custom extensions do not impact the core product, and thereby guarantees a consistent release schedule and limits downtime due to the high stability of the core system. It also guarantees backward compatibility. Lastly, its fast cloud deploy system is being developed and will be released in the near future. This functionality makes up another part of the SLIMS ecosystem, and combined with the SLIMS store’s detailed prebuilt packages enables a new way of LIMS deployment, closer to a self-service provisioning.
An Acquisition turning into a Scalable Platform
Genohm has recently been acquired by Agilent. The company believes that this is a great opportunity for both parties. It has opened new markets for Genohm in a scalable and sustainable way. Through this, the company will be enable to focus on developing new capabilities in SLIMS to meet the evolving needs of its current and new customers in the future. Agilent also gives it instant access to a huge knowledge network in an organization that has been a trusted industry reference for a long time.
Words of Appreciation from Contented Customers
“SLIMS is a great solution for our biobanking activities. We use the platform for our complete sample flow, from intake to storage and shipment. The integrated ELN is an indispensable tool — we use it to track all our sample activities such as slicing tissue, extraction of nucleic acids, and shipping of samples. The SLIMS workflow module is an innovative tool that allows us to register our studies in a dynamic environment. SLIMS is completely customizable to our needs and a lot of this can be done by the user. However, if we have a complex request or integration issue, Genohm’s support is great.”- Sofie Goethals, Biobank Manager @ UZA
“SLIMS is a highly modular software that can easily be configured to be compliant with ISO 17025. Especially the automatic control of test results and the QC card module are strongly appreciated by lab technicians and auditors. The unique system of adaptable data views within the UI, each day satisfies about 500 employees with very different profiles: from the lab manager and the lab technicians to the process operators and the researchers.” – Ilse Pieters – Lab Study Manager