People are the chemistry
Nathan Whitford, Director, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Portage, MI
In the last four years since I transitioned from Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories in Lancaster, PA, to our site in Portage, MI, many changes to the Portage site have occurred during that time. The initial phase of the transition focused on integration of quality systems, LIMS, and delivering results through LabAccess. Upon completion of that initial integration process, focus on growth became key so that Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Portage could deliver high-quality results to our clients.
At Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, we know that people provide our strength. And Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Portage has been able to add to that strength by doubling our staff over the past year. The growth in staff has been in areas of technical, support, and Quality Assurance so that we can continue to meet our clients’ needs while delivering high-quality results. Our management team, most notably at our Group Leader level, has grown with our staff so that they can maintain schedules and communicate directly with our clients for project specific needs.
As we’ve continued to add to a talented team, a focus on expanding and adding to technical capabilities has resulted in improved finished product services for our clients. The Chemistry group has added several Waters Acquity UPLC H-Class systems with PDA detection. This instrumentation has allowed for growth in our method development and validation capabilities while improving efficiency for routine testing to provide fast and reliable results when required. The Chemistry group has also expanded capabilities by adding Metrohm Coulometric KF instrumentation products requiring water content analysis. Addition of Agilent dissolution baths with autosampler capabilities has improved services for extended release products requiring dissolution testing. And we’ve implemented Franz Cell Diffusion technology for Transdermal Drug Administration testing, which is a capability not found in many laboratories.
The Microbiology team has successfully added a new Steris autoclave to support microbiology testing. Successful implementation of microbial limits validation and testing has been utilized for both finished product release and stability testing services for many of our clients. Capabilities of antimicrobial effectiveness testing and water activity testing have also been added to our non-sterile product testing laboratory.
And Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Portage has made a significant investment in the addition of stability storage capabilities. The tremendous growth in this area has included the addition of five new walk-in stability chambers for approximately 6500 ft3 of additional space for ICH storage. The new stability area has been secured with limited access and equipped with upgraded motion activated cameras for secure storage of Schedule II – V controlled substances. While the increased space along with the ability to validate reach-in chambers for special client projects has helped us to provide additional storage for our clients’ stability needs, we plan to continue expansion in this area by adding another 25°C/60%RH walk-in chamber as well as photo-stability chamber capabilities in 2016.
Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Portage still has the tools necessary for continued growth. While the site has doubled in size and added capabilities, this has been accomplished through efficient use of current laboratory space within the 40,000 ft2 facility. The facility still has six unused laboratory modules approximating 6,000 ft2 of space for additional growth. These laboratory modules have an open concept that provides the ability to build to a specific need so that Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Portage can increase current capabilities and add services specific to a client’s needs. It also enables us to respond quickly to a client needing to utilize our Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) model to become a strategic partner for services to include dedicated scientists and laboratory space.