Courier Therapeutics accelerates cancer research with lab management technology
Published: Jun 07, 2018
Known as “the emperor of all maladies”, Cancer, in all of its forms, has long been an enigma in the global medical community. Over the last half-century, however, cancer research has made great strides in both understanding the disease as well as developing new treatments to combat it. And while it remains the second leading cause of death in the United States*, deaths from cancer have been declining for decades, having fallen nearly 26% from their peak in 1991**.
A major contributor to this decline in mortality has been the introduction of immunotherapy which has proven itself to be a successful form of treatment for several types of cancer. Helping develop this line of treatment further is Courier Therapeutics, a startup that has dedicated itself to cancer therapy advancements in the field of immunotherapy. With the support of Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS, Courier is developing groundbreaking technology to activate innate and adaptive immune systems and is helping lead the way in breakthrough forms of cancer treatment.
But immunotherapy research, especially at the cutting edge, involves conducting extremely detailed experiments where a single small variable can produce inconclusive results. This makes the consistency of materials and reagents used a critical part of scientific progress. Sarah Hein, Director of Development at Courier recognized this and adopted Quartzy knowing it would be vital for the company to have a streamlined system for tracking, ordering, and ensuring the consistency of their lab supplies.
Sarah had previously used Quartzy as a graduate student for ordering and managing lab supplies and realized how it could make an immediate impact at her company. For Sarah, the visibility this platform provided into her lab’s ordering activities helped her keep tabs on what supplies and reagents teams were ordering for their research. “When you are troubleshooting why an experiment has not performed as expected, you need to examine all of the various components, and knowing that because we order through the technology platform, the reagents are the exact same, allows us to eliminate that factor so we can instead examine the processes.”
Serving as a single source of truth for the supplies used in their experiments, using a lab supply and ordering management platform drastically cut down the time Courier was investing in root-causing research issues. “If we didn’t use this free technology platform we would have to spend hours going back to outdated spreadsheets to try to piece together and confirm what supplies were ordered and which reagents were used for each experiment.” The time saved using this solution is critical; Sarah notes, “there are only a few of us to do all of the work in carrying out the experiments, so whenever we can eliminate tedious, administrative tasks we gain a significant advantage.”
Beyond tracking experiment supplies, Courier has found additional time savings with Quartzy’s Shop and Effortless Quotes features giving them access to over two million life science products from over 1,000 of the industry’s leading suppliers, allowing Sarah and her team to consolidate their purchasing across multiple vendors down to just one. “Navigating and searching through dense lab supply catalogs each time we need to order reagents is pure drudgery and wastes valuable time. The software eliminates that entire manual process for us.” Sarah estimates that it saves her team between 4 and 5 hours per week just in ordering supplies for the necessary experiments they run each day.
Courier’s sister company, Resonant Therapeutics, has also begun integrating the same software into their operational workflows. “Using a lab supply and ordering technology platform has been a game changer for us,” comments Sarah. “Getting those hours back each week to focus on experiments instead of supply ordering and to have consistency in our reagents across experiments is so valuable. For emerging pharmaceutical companies, it is one of these platforms you really shouldn’t live without.”