BIOMARK002.149 - Automate sample prep GLP

Nigel Tooke

How to Automate Sample Prep in the GLP Analytical Lab.

February 18, 2020 at 8:21 AM / by Nigel Tooke

Meeting throughput- and efficiency targets in the analytical laboratory working in a Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) environment involves a constant hunt for new ways to improve workflows and sample quality.

One key component is the automation of sample prep, but finding a solution can be a complex task. Before you make the decision to buy, here are some key considerations when automating sample prep workflows.

6 factors to consider when automating a sample prep workflow in a GLP environment

The benefits of automating sample prep are clear, but which solution will meet your needs? Here are some key factors to consider.

Does the system deliver the overall performance you need?

Automated workflows should exceed the performance of manual methods in consistently delivering samples that match analytical needs.

Can the system cope with your individual sample prep workflows?

The enormous variation in sample prep workflows in many analytical labs demands versatile standalone systems that can automate single or multiple processes that can include a range of formats, such as 96-well plates and columns. And also handle a range of extraction methods, including Supported Liquid Extraction (SLE), Solid Phase Extraction (SPE), Phospholipid Depletion (PLD) and Protein Precipitation (PPT).  

Will the system save you time and costs?

Any automation solution must ultimately increase the efficiency of your lab and save costs in terms of consumables and operator time.

Is the system easy to use?

Saving time through the automation of sample prep is only possible if the automation solution is easy to use. Not only that, ease of use is crucial when taking the decision to transfer the sample prep of precious samples to an automated system with confidence.

Does the system fit into your lab?

You need to make the most of your lab space; so small instrument footprint is an important consideration. Not only that, sample prep can involve handling biofluids and/or hazardous volatile substances that require placing the system in a biosafety cabinet or extractor hood.

Does the system software fulfill your GLP requirements?

Automating sample prep will increase throughput and efficiency in the lab, but also increase the need to track samples, organize data, and ensure that routines are followed, including maintenance and staff training. If your aim is to generate data for approved products that are regulated by government institutions then it is a major advantage if the software for automated sample prep conforms to GLP.

An established automation solution for sample prep

Launched in 2015, Extrahera™ has become an established system for automating sample prep with a versatility that has led to proven performance in a wide range of fields and organizations, from clinical testing, to pharmaceutical companies, CROs and biotech, forensics and academic research. Users appreciate the ease of use, consistent performance, small footprint, flexibility in supporting rapid method development, and the ability to handle different formats and extraction methods, including SPE, SLE, PLD and PPT. The result is reliable sample prep that supports the routine generation of high quality data while saving time and reducing costs.

Now with GLP software

Software is a critical component of lab instrumentation. The clean, easy-to-use interface of Extrahera™ has now been complemented with optional Extrahera™ GLP software that represents the next step in organizing your laboratories sample prep automation workstation. This software provides intelligent and reliable access required to maintain sample integrity for non-clinical laboratory studies

The Extrahera™ GLP software achieves this by overseeing the management of user accounts, ensuring a secure system and documentation, providing the ability to network to external databases and servers, and offering complete audit trail tracking. Extrahera™ can also be interfaced to your local server to enable enhanced sample management and downstream data mining. Integrating your Extrahera™ to your local network or LIMS system can bring your automation workflow full circle.

Reap the benefits of automating sample prep

Automation is everywhere in the analytical lab, and is especially effective when it comes to routine tasks that are tedious, time-consuming and repetitive, and demand consistent precision and accuracy. Sample prep is a good example. Automating sample prep improves throughput and efficiency in the lab and can remove bottlenecks to maximize the performance of high throughput analytical instrumentation. Automation also frees up skilled analysts to spend time on more important tasks such as data analysis.

Automating optimized sample prep methods frequently results in consistently high analyte recoveries. This, and reductions in the risk of error and variation ensure consistent sample prep, high data quality, and low re-run frequency.

The overall efficiency of the lab will increase when manual sample prep is automated, increasing throughput and reducing hands-on time that also lowers the cost of processing samples. Not only that, using the right automation system will help to make the most efficient use of consumables such as pipette tips to reduce costs even further.

Whether you adhere to GLP standards or just need to organize your labs sample prep workflows, visit biotage.com for more information about Extrahera™ and Extrahera™ GLP software.

Topics: Automation, SPE solid phase extraction, Extrahera

Nigel Tooke

Written by Nigel Tooke