Lisbon, Portugal | Hasselt, Belgium | Boston, MA, USA | April 25th, 2022
At the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2022) today, UgenTec announced a go-to-market agreement under which Roche Diagnostics will add the FastFinder software to their Roche FLOW offering.
FastFinder is a software platform that uses data science and Artificial Intelligence to minimize manual review of assay results through digitization of an assay’s interpretation logic. FastFinder Analysis automates the assay instructions for use, minimizing result turnaround time (TAT) by avoiding time-consuming and error prone manual review.
UgenTec had previously collaborated with Roche Diagnostics to successfully implement an end-to-end workflow for the Infectious Disease assay portfolio of Hvidovre Hospital’s molecular diagnostics lab in Denmark. The parties are now building on this successful integration with a joint go-to-market agreement in which Roche FLOW customers will benefit from a seamless workflow experience as they manage their test results.
Adopting FastFinder allows labs to bring the highest standard of care for their referrers and the patients that rely on them, through optimal result consistency. Moreover, FastFinder brings significant operational benefits to Roche FLOW users. Firstly, it allows labs to optimize result calling. Labs can finetune and automate result calling to their liking and decide in what circumstances a result needs manual review. Secondly, adding FastFinder greatly reduces manual steps in curve review and assay result reporting – reducing time to result significantly and optimizing lab efficiency. And thirdly, FastFinder allows labs to increase result consistency – by taking away possible variability between lab staff and by making interpretation rules explicit -and consecutively, automating them in software.
In brief, FastFinder reduces the need for manual result review, optimizes the lab’s time to result and result consistency, gives lab staff detailed control over result calling automation, and seamlessly ties into the lab’s LIMS system.
Labs are under strain
COVID has transformed how many labs operate – introducing more robotics, automation, and process optimization. The increased complexity, along with growing volumes and expanding assay menus, have put further pressure on lab staff. Moreover, hiring additional lab personnel has proven hard, and bringing junior lab staff up to speed is key. For this reason, tying systems together to provide true sample-to-result workflows is essential for labs to keep up with workload, complexity, and demand.
Gorm Lisby, Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, commented: “We rely on Roche FLOW as a key solution to our high-throughput workflow. The FLOW platform provides the required flexibility in instrument configuration and allows us to standardize the wet lab workflow. UgenTec’s FastFinder software platform perfectly complements these systems because it allows us to streamline and automate data analysis and limit the burden on lab staff technicians, freeing up capacity so expert staff can move from time-consuming result review and spreadsheet-based reports to managing the complexities of lab ramp-up and test menu expansion. “
Hvidovre also commented that as they bring junior staff on board, the automation capabilities of FastFinder allow them to get operational quickly because the assay interpretation logic is embedded in software rules rather than in people’s minds.
Automation and AI for high-throughput diagnostics at scale
Under the agreement, Roche Diagnostics’ sales force will be able to offer FastFinder Analysis to the Roche FLOW customer base.
Steven Verhoeven, CEO at UgenTec, states: “Coming out of the pandemic, labs are under strain to make optimal use of their expert staff. It’s not easy to hire and train more people. Labs acutely feel the need to automate their work, in order to obtain the highest accuracy while optimizing result turnaround times. At UgenTec, we’re bringing together data science & AI, easy to use software, and smart instrument connectivity to offer diagnostic labs the right software tools – the tools they need to ensure results are up to the highest standards required in clinical diagnostics. Roche Diagnostics and UgenTec share this ambition and vision on diagnostics, so we’re very pleased to bring this solution to the market together.”
Mrs. Esther de Rooij, General Manager Roche Diagnostics Netherlands: ”As the global leader in Molecular Diagnostics, we developed the FLOW solution to seamlessly connect the complete workflow from primary sample handling to qPCR result, while ensuring full traceability of data and direct communication to your laboratory information system (LIS). The agreement with UgenTec provides additional value for our customers by enabling labs to create and deliver innovative, effective, and efficient LDTs; while ensuring the versatility to keep up with the spread of pathogenic organisms.”
Johan Treschow, Solutions Partner at Roche Diagnostics Denmark, is pleased with the project success: “We’re happy we’ve been able to partner with UgenTec to put together this solution for Hvidovre’s molecular lab. We’re looking forward to supporting the lab in further deploying additional tests on this workflow, and providing them with a seamless solution for automated lab operations”.