[Video] Semi-Automated Biobanking: Delivering quality samples in less time

Posted by Kate Enright on Jul 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The holy grail in the biobanking industry is all about maximizing the value of biospecimens to deliver new therapies. Thus, there's now more pressure on biobanks to deliver samples that are in better condition, with better annotation, and with a more rapid turnaround time. In order to support our clients in achieving their aims in maximizing the value of their sample collections, we have installed a LiCONiC Semi-Automated Biobank (SAB) to manage the increased demands on sample utilization. To learn more and see the LiCONiC system in action, check out our video below!


There is a mindset that it takes many years to develop a new therapy. We believe that it should take no longer than 48 hours from a researcher requesting a sample to having the order processed and dispatched to them. Our SAB enables us to meet the demands of sample integrity by minimizing time-out-of-temperature, whilst ensuring that full traceability is maintained. It also answers the demands of sustainability as the physical footprint of an automated store is considerably less than using traditional -80°C ULT freezers. More importantly the energy usage is dramatically reduced, leading to lowered running costs over a number of years.

With expansion of clinical development portfolios and the application of personalized healthcare strategies (selecting appropriate and optimal therapies based on the needs of the individual patient) we now predict significant growth in sample collection due to increased patient populations and support for diagnostic testing, and so the need for reducing cost and environmental impact becomes more important.

All samples collected within a clinical study plan must be available for analysis to determine if the study has met its end points. The challenge is ensuring that the samples, and their status, remain visible to other researchers. In some instances, for example, where patient populations are small, certain sample types could be very scarce. In circumstances where these samples have appropriate consent and are needed for translational research, we need processes that channel them to researchers in the shortest possible time after completion of the clinical study.

The semi-automated biobank delivers the advantages already mentioned because it is built with an inherent flexibility that facilitates the use of both legacy collections and new biobank storage mediums. The lack of real standardization in biobanking, especially for the older collections, means that we need to accommodate a wide variety of tubes / vials and that can only be achieved by removing the restrictions of fully automated systems. In essence, the LiCONiC SAB is a large -80°C chest freezer that can efficiently store and retrieve the vast majority of regularly used Cryobox’s or SBS tube racks, just as we would in a standard -80°C freezer in the laboratory.

Achieving a 1:1 utilization rate, as previously discussed, would amount to a three- or four-fold increase in requests to a research biobank. If we couple on the requirement for more speed, we can expect that it will quickly become difficult to meet demand without automation for ultra-low temperature, discrete sample retrieval. The development of such capabilities will have a positive impact on scientific research and delivering medicines to patients.

Just like any bank – the value within a biobank increases with every deposit….but the true value can only be realized if the assets are withdrawn and used. The efficiencies of the SAB will support the biobanking industry by reducing cost, improving quality and providing solutions where space is a premium.

For additional information on our comprehensive biosample management system, including our LiCONiC Semi-Automated Biobank, please contact us using the icon below!

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