In its continuing quest to find innovative new drugs, pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca spends $11 million every working day on research and development.
One of the first steps in researching a new drug is to test the effects of thousands of different chemicals on whole cells using imaging. Manual processes were painstakingly slow, so AstraZenecas Advanced Science Technology Laboratory (ASTL) at Loughborough, UK decided to investigate automating the process.
The answer was the INCell Analyzer imaging system from Amersham Biosciences. To cope with the huge amounts of imaging data it produces, the Analyzer was teamed with HPs StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA), provided by Storage specialist, Hawke.
Staff from Astrazeneca worked closely with consultants from Hawke to design a solution which would match todays needs, but was scalable to cope with the anticipated future growth. Once the solution had been designed, Hawkes team were responsible for project implementation and integration with the INCell Analyzer.
The system had to be completely Bulletproof, because regulatory, legal and patent requirements demand that the data must be kept for at least twenty five years. The solution proposed was based on a 3 level storage concept using HPs EVA and HSM technologies and Backup software from Legato.
Data remains online, stored on discs that are immediately accessible for six months then near-line with an automatically retrievable robotic tape library for a further three to six months. After that it is archived. The EVA and HSM technologies maximise the efficiency of both the online and nearline storage. The initial system was configured with 6 Terabytes, with the flexibility for this to expand as the demand for data increased.
AstraZeneca is one of the earliest adopters of Amershams technology which massively
increases its imaging ability at a cellular level.
The INCell Analyzer collects up to 80Gb of information a day and about 3Tb of data over a typical six week screening campaign, said Andy Hargreaves, associate director of AstraZenecas ASTL.
We needed a storage solution that was scalable but also reliable to ensure we were able to maximise the use of the data generated and integrate it into our drug discovery process where it could have significant time and cost saving implications.
This is one of the first stages in our research, where we define which chemicals are going to be used for a particular project, added Andy Hargreaves. Our imaging work would not be possible at this high level of through-put if we did not have an efficient data storage system like the one provided by Hawke.
By using the INCell Analyzer with HP storage technology, AstraZenecas scientists can now collect additional data much more quickly and retrieve data for further investigation. Research and development is a vital component of the company and its efficiency has been increased thanks to the Amersham INCell Analyzer, HP and Hawke.
Hawke Systems are exhibiting at Storage Expo the UK's largest and most important event dedicated to data storage, now in its 5th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme, and over 90 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 12 - 13 October 2005 www.storage-expo.com