Inside the labs of AstraZeneca

We interviewed David Nicholls, co-leading with Mats Ormo and Ning Gao the bio-assets IT strategy for the Discovery Sciences Unit on a strategic decision to replace two internal IT systems with an application service for bio-asset logistics management.

David Nicholls Enabling Capabilities Manager, Discovery Sciences Group, Innovative Sciences Unit, AstraZeneca

David Nicholls is currently the Enabling Capabilities Manager for the Discovery Sciences Unit in the Innovative Medicines Unit of AstraZeneca. The Discovery Sciences Unit collaborates with the iMEDs and applies core competencies to deliver a portfolio of drug discovery projects from initiation through to candidate selection. Discovery Sciences is engaged in all stages of the process enabling hit identification, lead generation and optimization to support target quality with tools and reagents. David says: “Discovery Sciences are an integral part of iMED drug discovery projects.” The Discovery Sciences Unit is a vital component of the broader Innovative Medicines and Early Development Unit (iMED Biotech Unit) under the research leadership of Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos. The Discovery Sciences Unit supports all stages of drug development up to candidate selection for clinical trials.

We were missing opportunities to share information such that one research group would not know if another group was holding a certain bio-asset

David was very impressed by the speed of, and the support received during the implementation. It started in January 2015 and the first phase was completed by the first week of March 2015.

the fastest IT implementation he had personally been involved in,

despite the fact that 15 years worth of data had to be migrated from the legacy Plaza system into Labguru. 

Absolutely fantastic, it has gone on time and at the pace we have agreed. During our collaboration the AZ team suggested a significant number of changes and improvements to the initial Labguru system. We quickly became aware of how responsive the Labguru team were to making changes and getting things done. We have a really good dialogue with the Labguru development team where they would challenge us on our requests. We would come to a good compromise where we could move it forward in a quick way, without the bureaucracy that often goes along with IT development.