Transitioning From Paper to a Unified Digital Solution for Pharmaceutical R&D

Drug Discovery and Development, Fundamental Research, Laboratory Technology, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical,
  • February 27, 2018 | (Tuesday) 10am EST (NA) / 3pm GMT (UK) / 4pm CET (EU-Central)
  • 60 min

Key topics to be discussed include:

  • Paper note-taking and record-keeping deficiencies
  • How a unified digital solution can help to improve the efficiency of R&D?
  • Configuration and roll out of E-WorkBook to achieve 100% user adoption
  • Automation ideas to further enhance the efficiency of in-house processes

Details of the Study

Join this webinar to learn about a study that was conducted to investigate the benefits of switching from traditional paper-notetaking methods to a unified digital solution, and to explore the feasibility of such a transition. This study was initiated by interviewing scientists in different areas of R&D to identify the most cumbersome aspects of their record keeping. Next, possible solutions were sought to address the identified note-taking deficiencies. 

In doing so, it was realized that a unified digital solution could not only solve these documentation issues but also further improve the efficiency of an R&D engine by expanding the scope of documentation and including data that otherwise resided in separate files. A digital solution could also support automating processes around notebook writing, and adding to current safety measures in the chemistry laboratories.  

However, it was important to also determine whether the benefits of such a system would outweigh the efforts required to change from a paper notebook to a digital solution. To address this, a team of scientists with different backgrounds was assembled to choose a unified solution that would best meet the current needs. Subsequently, vendors were invited to present potential solutions to this team. Next, the team rank ordered solutions by their ease of use, limitations, and enhancements required. IT and informatics teams assessed hardware and software needs, integration with current software, required configurations of the digital solution, software enhancement possibilities, and the recommended solutions’ expandability. Lastly, references were checked for the two best options and a unified digital solution was finalized. 

In the next phase, a team of in-house and vendor IT and informatics professionals prepared an implementation plan. The software installation was deemed facile because no data migration was required and the vendor had prior experience with software configuration. However, the integration with other commercial and in-house software and limiting the access for contract scientists required some extended planning. The integration code was then written and tested in the development environment. Subsequently, business rules were developed to define the etiquettes for use of the solution. 

The software was configured to implement these business rules and then pilot tested by a few representative scientists. The final product was then installed and configured in the production environment and training was administered to designated solution administrators and end users. This solution resolved most of the notetaking issues and resulted in 100% in-house adoption. Automation of more workflows and their addition to the current unified solution is now being considered to further enhance the efficiency of in-house processes.


Atul Agarwal, Executive Director of Computations, Achillion Pharmaceuticals

After obtaining his doctorate degree in CADD and Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Georgia at Athens, GA, Atul started his career as a research scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Next, he worked at Metabasis Therapeutics/Gensia and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals prior to coming to Achillion in 2002. In his current role, Atul is responsible for rational drug design, informatics, structural biology, lab automation, and data analytics implementations, such as competitive intelligence. He has co-invented several drug candidates in different therapeutic areas.

Who Should Attend?

Senior IT professionals involved in:

  • R&D Information Systems
  • Informatics
  • Cheminformatics
  • Information Scientists
  • Information Technology
  • Research Informatics
  • Intellectual Property

Senior life science professionals involved in:

  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Discovery Chemistry
  • Chemical Synthesis
  • Principal Scientist
  • Small Molecule Research
  • Senior Chemist II or III
  • Synthetic/Synthesis
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Research Technology
  • Lead Development
  • Hit Discovery/Development
  • Innovation Manager
  • Technology Development
  • Chemistry Data Manager
  • Research Technologist

What You Will Learn

  • Paper note-taking and record-keeping deficiencies
  • How a unified digital solution can help to improve the efficiency of R&D?
  • Configuration and roll out of E-WorkBook to achieve 100% user adoption
  • Automation ideas to further enhance the efficiency of in-house processes

Xtalks Partners


IDBS is a leading global provider of advanced software for research and development (R&D) organizations to securely capture, manage, share and exploit structured and unstructured data. We create cloud-based solutions that are designed to meet the challenges faced by organizations and their scientists with scientific data management and lab informatics. We enable our customers around the world to get back to what they do best: science. We believe our technology and solutions have the power to help leading organizations, and their people, solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. Our drive for simplicity and innovation ensures we lead the way and transform R&D worldwide. Our customers around the globe trust us with their data, their business and their success. And our diverse customer list includes R&D-driven international companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agricultural sciences, chemicals, consumer goods, energy, engineering, food and beverage, and healthcare.

Founded in 1989 and privately held, IDBS is headquartered in the United Kingdom with offices across Europe, Asia and the United States. IDBS remains a privately held company employing over 250 staff across the world and serving over 50,000 researchers in 25 countries – including over 75% of the top twenty pharmaceutical companies.


Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHN) is a science-driven, patient-focused company seeking to leverage its strengths across the continuum from drug discovery to commercialization in its goal of providing better treatments for people with serious diseases. The company employs a highly-disciplined discovery and development approach that has allowed it to pursue best-in-class therapy for chronic hepatitis C (HCV) and build a platform of potent and specific complement factor D inhibitors. Achillion is rapidly advancing its efforts to become a fully-integrated pharmaceutical company with a goal of bringing life-saving medicines to patients with rare diseases.

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