Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) are laboratory management solutions designed to replace paper lab notebooks. It allows the scientists to access, search, and share the results of their experiments. With electronic lab notebooks, scientists and researchers can search their records and have more efficient ways to back up and copy their data onto other electronic devices. Scientists and researchers can share their data with multiple people can collaborate easily using an ELN.
An electronic lab notebook is essential to organizations because it can increase research documentation quality and reliability. It can also facilitate collaborations between scientists and increase the depth of research.
Pharmaceutical companies constantly focus on R&D as it is a core aspect of drug development processes. The biotechnology industry also continues to witness substantial growth due to increased investments in R&D to cater to the growing demand for innovation and new medical breakthroughs. The importance of R&D is evident due to the rising number of drug approvals. For instance, in 2020, the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved 53 novel drugs, increasing from 48 novel drugs approved in 2019. High R&D investments in the life sciences sector are expected to drive the adoption of electronic lab notebooks in the coming years.
According to Evaluate Pharma, the global expenditure on pharmaceutical R&D grew at a CAGR of 4.7% between 2012 to 2020. It is estimated to grow further, reaching approximately USD 254,000 million by 2026 at a CAGR of 4.2%. This increase in the global pharmaceutical R&D expenditure is likely to propel the adoption of electronic lab notebooks in the coming years.
Increasing R&D spending has boosted the demand for efficient laboratory data management. Most pharmaceutical companies and CROs are transitioning from traditional lab notebooks to electronic lab notebooks as ELNs allow researchers to capture experiment processes, data, and conclusions drawn, while simultaneously facilitating a searchable repository of experimental data that researchers can access for effective collaboration. ELNs allow for efficient report creation, improved data integrity, better IP protection, enhanced regulatory compliance, improved research collaboration, and more efficient research.
Pharmaceutical companies are the leading adopters of ELN solutions. These companies are undergoing rapid digital transformation and increasingly adopting disruptive technologies, including lab informatics, to innovate faster, improve cost efficiencies & productivity, ensure rapid & accurate decision making, maintain quality, and ensure regulatory compliance. However, the pharmaceutical sector is also witnessing business and R&D models changes due to intense market pressures, regulatory guidelines such as HACCP, GLP, GMP, CFR Title 9, 21 CFR Part 11, patent expiration, and innovation costs.
Furthermore, the biotechnology sector has become the foundation of progress for many industries, including the pharmaceutical industry. The biotechnological revolution has surpassed the technological revolution and become the new engine of the global economy. This is mainly due to the increasing incidence & prevalence of various chronic diseases, improved economic activity in various geographies, increasing contribution from developing nations, continuing industry & academic collaborations for product innovation, growing R&D expenditures, and increasing laboratory automation. Moreover, biotechnology has given rise to various interdisciplinary fields, such as bioinformatics and pharmacogenomics, revolutionizing drug delivery & discovery and personalized medicine.
These fields require advanced data management systems and analytical solutions such as laboratory informatics to streamline processes and optimize research data. Lab informatics solutions, such as ELN, help biotechnology companies easily capture, store, access, analyze, manage, and share data, managing resources and workflows efficiently. Moreover, integrated informatics solutions enable these organizations to consolidate disparate data sources to turn vast volumes of raw data into actionable insights, driving effective business decisions. Thus, the benefits of ELN solutions include improved operational efficiency and cost containment, smooth regulatory compliance, enhanced productivity, traceability, quality, decision-making, and faster innovation.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restrictions imposed by governments worldwide, leading to work from the environment. Scientists, researchers, and laboratory personnel were compelled to work remotely or in small teams, interrupting the natural flow of research, which can also be attributed to the fact that many laboratories still use paper notebooks to maintain records, inventory, and experimental methods and results. Paper use necessitates researchers to be present on-site to access data and makes it time-consuming to go through older data.
The COVID-19 pandemic positively impacted the electronic lab notebook market as researchers and scientists adopted ELNs to continue their research while working remotely. Pharmaceutical institutions and companies had to expedite research to find a cure against the virus and develop a vaccine, straining researchers and scientists. Using paper to maintain records of large volumes of research data tends to be tedious. Electronic lab notebooks simplify keeping records of experiments and research. Electronic lab notebooks made it easy to access data while working remotely.
The electronic lab notebook market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.1% to reach $787.7 million by 2029, according to Meticulous Research®.