High speed delivery
The delivery model has been designed for speed around effective project management, processes/equipment and people.
The highly secure laboratory modules come fully equipped with well-established operational processes combined with a highly skilled and dedicated project teams with experience of cross-border collaborations, ready to undertake cost-effective and 24-6 high speed drug discovery.
The effectiveness of the operations in India is boosted by the UK project office (Cambridge) which provides logistical, communications and objective project management support.
o2h understands that early and intensive evaluation of the molecules based on thorough communications and rapid decision-making will lead to a high throughput of successful drug-like compounds.
Full lab service units
Chemistry at o2h is performed at its custom-built, state-of-the art greenfield campus with 6 lab units with a capacity for 120+ employees.
Each lab unit is an IP/IT secure, spacious module with 8 fume-hoods and an accompanying write-up area. The modularity of this design enables us to provide a comfortable work-area for our chemists and also customise client-experience, while assuring high level of security. All lab units are accessible via key-card access only and benefit from an integrated engineering and central services support.
Our campus incorporates the highest standards of safe operations and the latest in both proven and experimental environmental thinking applicable to discovery research activity in the extreme Indian climatic conditions. LUX, motion controllers and low energy natural coolers are some of these features. In the lab units, fume-hoods are VAV controlled with fire-tracer extinguishers.
Discovery speed is at the very heart of all project management at o2h. Effective project management and communication is an integral element of ensuring fruitful interactions and positive outcome for the project. o2h has perfected, over a number of years, simple yet clear templates which enable the systematic day-to-day reporting and measurement of scientific progress in the most effective manner.
Performance and productivity metrics are the foundation of the o2h operational model. The metrics are updated on a weekly basis as per the o2h’s internal project management systems. Data is represented in a graphical form, where possible, and shared internally as well as with the client. o2h has innovated a comprehensive system of 20 “dashboard metrics” to improve productivity & delivery performance. These dashboard metrics enable us to analyse and optimise our performance through a continuous cycle of improvement.
o2h monitors a range of indicators on a compound, per FTE, project, month and quarterly level. For example, the metrics in synthesis include the number of trial reactions, successful reactions, purifications, number of steps, final compounds, average time per reaction or step, number of deadline changes per compound, delays per compound, classification of the reasons for the delay in delivery of a compound, and even the timeliness of the status reporting and despatch.
Communications with clients range from direct communication - the most obvious and rapid means of solving issues-to secure space on our intranet site for depositing documents and data arising during the projects.
During our initial interaction at the start of the project, we identify the optimal communication protocol with the client and follow this diligently throughout the project.
Other channels of project management and communication include:
Project status reports
One page tabulated summary outlining progress of the project, highlighting any potential issues and tracking progress against deadline.
o2h Dashboard performance metrics
o2h also records a wide range of performance data. This is uploaded to the secure website on a bi-weekly cycle.
Project feedback form
At the end of every phase of the project o2h asks its clients to fill in a feedback form, which provides o2h with objective information that is useful in improving service. This data is collated, analysed and then distributed to all senior professionals in o2h.
o2h has spent considerable time to map and document all processes within the organisation to ensure that each individual, from business development to group-leaders and bench chemists, knows exactly at what step their input will be required.
Though initially an intensive process, this defined process management means there is a clear path for communication as well as trouble-shooting when needed.
o2h also continuously monitors and updates its processes to keep them relevant and optimised. This process is a part of the feedback loop from both in-house scientists and our clients to ensure that client priorities are met and correct deliverables are set at each point of the project.
Starting materials & supply chain
Prompt delivery of starting materials is crucial to fast start of a project and the key to our drug discovery and delivery speed.
Our dedicated team of personnel includes purchasing officers, store/stock managers as well as in-house customs liaising officer. Over the course of past several years, we have identified a list of suppliers, both locally and internationally, with account managers in larger suppliers dedicated to our orders. We evaluate delivery metrics and work together with our suppliers to continuously improve starting material delivery.
The supply process is mapped out, with expected delivery times from various suppliers. This metric is monitored monthly and we actively work with our suppliers to improve delivery lead times. o2h also maintains an inventory of most commonly used chemicals and reagents in-house to further aid delivery speeds of drug discovery projects.
With over a decade of experience working in this industry, o2h has understood the impact of supply chain performance on overall synthesis performance and has game changing advantages vs. other competitors in India.
- o2h being an Export Oriented Unit (EOU) we are able to reduce (compared to an SEZ) the turn-around time for import chemicals due to elimination of two entire layers of customs processing/clearance.
- Layer 1 – pre-clearance of import shipments
- In an SEZ we have to file the Bill of Entry (BOE) only after transhipment from Mumbai to Ahmedabad while at EOU we can start the process of custom clearance of import shipments in advance of it landing in Mumbai airport via our custom officer where we can save 2-3 days
- Layer 2 – no clearance at the gate
- In the SEZ a custom clearance officer sits at the gate of the campus and is required to approve each shipment before it reaches the scientists. This custom clearance step may lead to delays of up to 1-2 day(s) as that officer receives shipment from a # of companies simultaneously which can result in a lengthy queue. This issue is compounded if the officer is unavailable (e.g., due to his illness, has to go on other government business, his own discretion). No such process exists for EOU.
We save 7 days on a shipment from Combiblocks, 5 days on a shipment from ARK Pharma and 7 days on a shipment from Apollo Scientific.
- Layer 1 – pre-clearance of import shipments
- Reduced hierarchy leading to faster approval (same day, in fact in matter of minutes) and same day processing of purchase orders for chemicals.
- A dedicated 2nd shifter working in Purchasing Team specifically for import chemical ordering – resulting in chemical ordering and tracking over an extended portion of day/night matching the time-zone of import suppliers.
- The key purchase processes have been mapped to understand and optimize the chemicals procurement process.
- Efficient utilization of extensive vendor base locally (in Gujarat) and domestically (in India)
- 70% of our chemicals are procured locally – turn-around time 1-2 days from placing the PO.
- Strategic relationship with major domestic vendors (Sigma, Alfa Aesar and TCI India – each has a bonded ware-house i.e., option to procure chemicals in duty-paid/duty-free mode).
- 17% of our chemicals are procured domestically – turn-around time 2-3 days (duty-paid orders) or 7 days (duty-free orders).
- Tactical relationship with Blue-Dart (courier agency) for minimizing transit time of shipments.
- Wider network of suppliers for import chemicals - across USA (e.g., Combiblocks), UK (e.g., Apollo Scientific), China (e.g., ARK Pharma), Germany (e.g. Enamine).
- At o2h we have a non-hierarchical set-up where we process the order same day to get faster delivery.
- 13% of our chemicals are procured internationally. Turn-around time 8-9 days (duty-paid orders) or 10 days (duty-free orders).
- Tactical relationship with courier agencies (e.g., DHL, FedEx) for minimizing transit time of shipments as well as facilitating faster clearance process.
- Dedicated custom house agent (CHA) in Mumbai as well as in Ahmedabad for assisting with custom clearance of shipments (e.g., responding to any custom officer queries).
- Supply chain team that is incentivized based on overall project performance inclusive of supply chain measures.
Facilities & equipment
o2h’s 2,000 m2 greenfield campus is an Export Oriented Unit (EOU), which is government sponsored duty free environment to encourage export and industrialisation.
Our campus benefits from pre-clearance of import shipments, no custom clearance at gate and secure buildings with access control points.
Activities of the lab units are supported by the surrounding research campus, an all glass conference area and a social entrepreneurship zone supporting work in the local community. To create an environment where scientists can be mentally refreshed, the building has elegantly designed courtyards.
o2h understands the responsibility it has to protect the IP of its clients during a formative stage of the discovery process.
The o2h IP security model is designed to protect the IP of the clients during the project lifecycle and beyond. We have prepared a white paper to detail the IP security measures that o2h has in place to protect the IP of its clients and to provide the necessary level of confidence for the client to enter into or extend an existing collaboration with o2h.
In this white paper all procedures are examined from the set-up, communications, technological, legal, operational, infrastructure, people, culture and organisational angles. We have thus taken a lifecycle perspective to the use and protection of IP during all phases of a project. The o2h process or policy is rated in relation to the likely risk level and therefore its importance. The responsibility for ensuring the execution of the policy or process has been clearly identified.
Some of the key features include:
- CDA signed with all employees (if required CDAs can be executed directly between clients and project teams at o2h)
- Upfront patent assignment on MSAs
- Mandatory checks to ensure adherence to IP Process
o2h places particular emphasis on enhancing the trouble-shooting time and efficiency of its scientists and hence we have a dedicated analytical suit with a ratio of 1 analytical scientist to every 4 chemists.
This suit is equipped with a multi-probe Bruker 400 Mhz NMR, LCMS, several HPLCs/mass directed PREP HPLCs, detectors, GCs, microwaves and other scientific equipment to enable high throughput purification and analysis, and provides 24/7 operational support. The performance of this critical facility is monitored weekly and held to a strict internal benchmark.
This benchmarking takes into account not only our internal usage metrics, but also embraces the standards of leading organizations in our industry. We also allocate budget to quickly add capacity if the projects demand. Simultaneously, we maintain service agreements with the suppliers both in the UK and India for timely delivery and maintenance of each piece of equipment.
360 degree support
Success of drug discovery projects depends on timely trouble-shooting and finding pragmatic solutions to potential issues.
Scientists at o2h are supported by a 360° support system which aims at maximising their time to focus on their projects. These support systems include second-shift scientists, 24/7 analytical labs and access to online scientific databases.
Each project team at o2h is allocated support staff consisting of lab technicians, second-shift chemists and analytical chemist. The scientists are also supported by the purchasing team, UK office and project managers.
A vital part of 360° support is also the continuous technical skills update and training in new techniques of our employees with regular scientific training programs and expert research seminars.
o2h has focused on building an environment of learning and empowerment, where each scientist is encouraged to take full responsibility of their work and pro-actively seek resources and support they require for optimal delivery.
Continuous improvement of a scientist’s skills and keeping abreast of latest techniques is essential for drug discovery success. Regular seminars, held twice monthly, are scheduled in important areas of science, leadership and communications by in-house experts and speakers invited on suggestion from scientists.
This culture has resulted in very low attrition rates of our scientists, which benefit our clients by enhancing IP safety and retention of skills within the company. o2h also continuously monitors and updates its processes to keep them relevant and optimised. This process is a part of the feedback loop from both in-house scientists and our clients to ensure that client priorities are met and correct deliverables are set at each point of the project.
o2h considers each of its scientists as entrepreneurs and aims to provide them with an environment that encourages continuous learning and self-development.
We value scientists that take control of their projects and proactively deliver to the best of their abilities. To further encourage leadership in their roles and keeping in mind the focus of being the best service company in the world, 12.5% of each scientist’s compensation is linked to client feedback. We diligently collect project priorities at the start of the project, which are communicated to the respective scientists and team leaders to help them deliver to these priorities.
Proactive problem-solving via direct and frequent communication with the client is supported by our in-house training programs in communication and English speaking, along with sensitization to cross-cultural issue, which might affect project delivery. Our scientific liaison officer based in Cambridge, with experience both in India and UK, further supports our scientist in this regard.