Moving up the automation S-curve: The role of the laboratory automation support function in successful pharmaceutical R &D

Abstract

The political and economic climate that exists today is a challenging one for the pharmaceutical industry. To eectively compete in today’s marketplace, companies must discover and develop truly innovative medicines. The R&D organizations within these companies are under increasing pressure to hold down costs while accomplishing this mission. In this environment of level head count and operating budgets, it is imperative that laboratory management uses resources in the most eective, eicient ways possible. Investment in laboratory automation is a proven tool for doing just that. This paper looks at the strategy and tactics behind the formation and evolution ofa central automation/laboratory technology support function at the Glaxo Research Institute. Staffing of the function is explained, along with operating strategy and alignment with the scientific client base. Using the S-curve model of technological progress, both the realized andpotential impact on successful R&D automation and laboratory technology development are assessed

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