Norwich Research Park Biorepository goes live with new laboratory management system

28th April 2020

A biobank for health research based on the Norwich Research Park has successfully gone live with a new laboratory management system and is now supporting Norfolk’s COVID-19 research efforts.

The Norwich Research Park Biorepository is a partnership between Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) and the University of East Anglia and provides samples of human tissue to health researchers.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council provided £3.5 million of capital funding towards the project. Interactive Software Limited (ISL) Achiever Medical was selected to deliver the aim of a centralised system to store, manage and process the human tissue bank.

The software’s advanced security and data protection and encryption tools allow the NRP Biorepository to help drive research into human health and a wide range of diseases by providing human tissue samples, and features:

  • state-of-the-art freezer and retrieval systems to provide material for researchers locally, nationally and internationally
  • secure short or long-term storage of tissue samples and associated anonymised data
  • NHS managed – ensuring ethical governance and compliance with legislation
  • researchers and research partners able to access patient data while protecting patient identifiable data.

The new system gives the Norwich Research Park (NRP) Biorepository, based in the Bob Champion Research and Education building, greater control over the samples in its tissue bank and has in-built tools to help compliance with the Human Tissue Act and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

NNUH Medical Director Erika Denton said: “This is a great development for NNUH as we improve services for our patients and increase our research capability in the hospital and across the Norwich Research Park.  I would like to thank everyone involved in this partnership who has worked so hard to bring this to fruition during very challenging times.”

NRP Biorepository project manager Lizzie Meadows said: “Rolling out the new system in the middle of the pandemic was enormously challenging but the team was determined to get the job done against the odds.  I’d like to thank everyone involved at NNUH, QIB and ISL for pulling out all the stops and delivering a robust system that will help research into human diseases.”

ISL Director Sharon Williams said: “It’s a huge testament to everyone’s hard work, commitment and the great partnership that’s developed between NNUH, QIB and ISL that the go live with Achiever Medical was such a success during an incredibly challenging and constantly changing situation.”

Biorepository manager Rachael Stanley said: “Achiever Medical completely changes the way we handle tissue samples, it gives us complete traceability and improved security, and really helps save us time and increase productivity. This will add enormous value to the COVID-19 research taking place at the Quadram Institute and across the Norwich Research Park.”