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Press Release

AstraZeneca chooses software by Aitken Scientific to control high throughput purification workflow

AstraZeneca has teamed up with software specialists Aitken Scientific to track samples and control the workflow in a substantial project to increase its high throughput purification capacity at Alderley Park. Philip Jewsbury (project leader) explained:

"The aim of the project was to increase the purification throughput by an order of magnitude and we realised that such a target was only achievable with software to control the purification workflow. This would significantly reduce the complexity of tracking the large numbers of samples, tubes and vials that are generated during the purification process, allowing the scientists to concentrate on the purifications themselves.

Purification comprises of several steps with up to 5,000 samples at some stage in the process at any particular time. The purification team work flexibly, moving between the different stages, so we needed a tracking software that would control and standardise the workflow and allow anyone to pick up a container, scan the bar code, understand the status of the sample, and be able to continue to the next step in a controlled way.

Aitken Scientific worked with us as the system was being set up and developed the tracking software. As the purification hardware was being implemented in parallel, we had to anticipate what the new workflow would become. I was impressed by the contribution Aitken made to this process. They gave me great confidence that they really understood what we were trying to do rather than just delivering a package to order.

The project team was set a challenging goal and a tight timescale, but with the help of companies like Aitken, we were able to deliver a step change in productivity, delivering a leading capability on time. A key benefit has been allowing the scientists to focus their expertise on the critical purification steps while reducing the stress involved in tracking such a complex and dynamic process."