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Lhasa Limited CEO, Dr. Chris Barber, reflects on 2020 and shares plans for the year ahead

The global pandemic has undoubtedly had a huge impact on many companies in 2020, Lhasa is no exception.

I am immensely proud of my Lhasa colleagues’ resilience during the remote working situation we all found ourselves in, demonstrated, in part, through the continued release of both software and knowledge to our members throughout 2020.

If you missed any of our 2020 release updates, as a quick overview, we successfully shared 5 software releases (Mirabilis 3.2, Vitic 4.0, Nexus 2.3 plus corresponding updates to Setaria 3.2 and Derek Web Service 6.1, Zeneth 8; and Effiris 2.1). I am delighted that we have now realised our functionality to help with ICH M7 expert review in the Nexus 2.3 release, which I expect to be of interest to many readers. I am also very excited about the evolution of Effiris (released as version 2.1 in November). If you’re new to the Effiris conversation, you might like to take a look at this infographic, which explains more about this work.

Alongside software releases, we have also had a busy year of data releases – adding new data to the Lhasa Carcinogenicity Database plus, 8 further data releases across our data sharing consortia. Included in this total is the launch of a new data sharing initiative, Vitic Nitrites in Excipients. This exciting project is part of our efforts to support nitrosamines risk assessment and consortium members are sharing data on the level of nitrites in excipients.

If you’re familiar with our slogan ‘Shared Knowledge, Shared Progress’ then you might not be surprised that we’ve been honouring this mission in other areas too:

MAY | We launched the Lhasa blog.  Since May, my colleagues have put together articles on a range of interesting topics, from day to day work at Lhasa, to exciting initiatives we’re involved in. One such blog article details Lhasa’s involvement in the COVID-19 Moonshot project.

JULY | An early innovation titled “Pre-clinical text mining solution for treatment response” which Lhasa contributed to as part of the IMI2 eTRANSAFE Project was recognised by the European Commission’s Innovation Radar – as being at the ‘exploratory’ stage for addressing the needs of existing markets.

SEPTEMBER | Takeda joined the Effiris Consortium – An exciting announcement; we are thrilled to have Takeda onboard.

Throughout the year we have been dedicated to providing updates from our in-house expert scientists – when poster presentations went virtual, we also provided you with some short poster summaries on Lhasa’s LinkedIn.

This success would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of our members. I would like to thank you all for your continued engagement, in all forms from project participation to webinar attendance and ultimately for collaborating with us with shared progress in mind, enabling Lhasa to live up to our charitable ambitions.

As a final 2020 reflection, whilst it is easy to point to the above examples of my colleagues rising to the challenge, I’d suggest that the most impactful moments of success were the many smaller acts of kindness and support between colleagues seen across Lhasa throughout 2020 (virtually of course!).

Looking forward to 2021

We start the year with hope – hope that the rapidly developed vaccines will allow us to return to a world of direct contact with colleagues, collaborators and friends. This however is still many months away and we will continue to work remotely in the meantime. I’m confident that we can continue to support our members, collaborate and develop solutions to support our members, despite our remote working.

At Lhasa we have exciting growth plans for 2021 and we will be looking for additional talented people across the business to help us achieve our 2021 ambitions.

Some of our ambitions are visible through the new products we are developing.  One (Kaptis) maps toxicity pathways through Adverse Outcome Pathways and the other (Effiris) allows us to create machine-learnt models through a privacy-ensuring, knowledge-sharing approach which will change forever how we can create highly predictive models using the proprietary data we are privileged to have access to. I’m not going to talk about either as it is much better to hear directly from those talented people creating these solutions – so I would urge you to read the Kaptis and Effiris blog articles linked from this page.

These are the culmination of many years of work within Lhasa and we expect them to be of great value to our members – and after all that is why Lhasa exists, to develop solutions to support the needs of our members.

Keep up to date with 2021 Lhasa updates via the ‘News’ area of our website.


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