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Information Management for High Throughput Experimentation

March 22, 2022

The ETC is seeking to solicit understanding of what end-to-end automation software platform tools are currently available that enable integration of common automation instrumentations, chemical inventory/data visualization software and storage of reaction parameters and results in a machine-readable format. 

Download the Request for Information and submit your response.


RFI ISSUED March 22, 2022

QUESTIONS on RFI DUE April 8, 2022


Q&A Received (Updated April 26, 2022)

  1. “Describe a project submission and progress tracking capability for each experiment”. What exactly do you mean with “progress tracking capabilities”? Can you give a use case describing it?

    • ANSWER: Progress Tracking is to track the progress of a submission to know if it is in the Que, in-progress, on-hold, completed or rejected.

  2. You asked for an estimated project cost. Could you please give us an estimate on the number of users, number (and type if possible) of equipment, number and size of laboratories, we can base our estimates on?

    • ANSWER:  When ETC is asking for with the "estimated project cost", the request is related to the total cost to deliver your proposal and the funding request of ETC to offset the total project costs.   ETC is not the end customer for the Information Management System being sought through this RFI.  ETC is only looking to partner with a 3rd party to help develop a commercial solution which will satisfy the collective requirements of the Pharmaceutical industry so that anyone in the community can purchase the solution.  The members of ETC who are participating in this project (listed in Section 2.1 of the RFI document) are the companies that are interested in this project and would be potential customers of the commercial solution.  However, ETC does not have insight into the information you are requesting, as this is considered market research and something that is outside our scope of activities.

  3. When would ETC like the project to start?

    • ANSWER:  Currently unknown at this time since ETC may decide to scope a project with one of the RFI respondents or issue a more detailed RFP.   This RFI process is scheduled to conclude in June 2022.   

  4. Does ETC have an anticipated project duration?

    • ANSWER:  No.  The project duration should be proposed by the 3rd party, based upon the time they believe they need to complete the project.  Projects in ETC typically last 1-3 years with options to execute additional work through new SOWs after the completion of the initial SOW.

  5. Has ETC defined an anticipated overall spend for any/all phases of the project(s)?

    • ANSWER:  The funding available for projects is not determined up front.  Respondents should estimate the cost of the project and the total funding sought from ETC.  Historically ETC funding has been in the $0 - $400,000 range but there is no hard limit on the amount of funding.  Once a project is scoped out and a Statement of Work available, the ETC members will determine if there is sufficient interest to fund a particular project and meet the requested funding amount.  As mentioned in Section 5.4 of the RFI, the funding provided by ETC to a commercial vendor should be considered seed funding to supplement the total development costs, with the collaboration investing as well.

  6. Once the project has started how much time will the ETC and sponsor participants have to engage on the project on a monthly basis?

    • ANSWER:  Individuals from ETC will be comprised of representatives from ETC member companies participating in the project.  The frequency and need for meetings between ETC participants and the collaborator will be determined in the project plan.  Typically ETC and the collaborator meet either monthly or quarterly at a minimum to get product updates from the collaborator, but more frequent meetings are possible if needed. 

  7. For prototype evaluation will the sponsor accept working in shared environment hosted by the vendor?

    • ANSWER: If a respondent wishes to provide a prototype during the collaborator selection process (e.g., RFI or RFP stage) then the demonstration should reside in the vendor environment only.  As part of the project scoping exercise, ETC will work with the selected collaborator to determine the best location for the testing environment to reside.  It is highly likely that the testing environment may eventually reside both in the vendor’s and client’s environment once something is ready for testing/feedback.  This dual setup will allow for testing and feedback from ETC to occur while additional development is done in parallel.

  8. Who would establish priorities between the sponsors?

    • ANSWER:  ETC members on the project and the collaborator will work together to scope the project priorities and capture these in a SOW, which will specify the project deliverables, timeline, payment schedule, fixed cost in US to ETC, etc.  

  9. If there is an existing commercial product that meets all the high-level requirements identified will the project proceed? 

    • ANSWER:  Highly unlikely but given the number of ETC members involved in creating this RFI, it is likely that existing commercial solutions have one or more gaps in their current capabilities and are unable to 100% satisfy the requirements set forth in this RFI.  However, if an existing commercial product is identified that satisfies all the requirements specified then the RFI will have served its purpose and identified a commercial solution. 

  10. The requirements presented to date are very high-level, how does the ETC team and sponsors envision getting to a detailed set of requirements over time? 

    • ANSWER:  The RFI serves to survey the landscape of potential solutions to the set of requirements contained within.  If this project goes forward directly from the RFI phase to selection of a collaborator, then the scoping phase will be used to get to the detailed set of requirements and ultimately drive the creation of an SOW to deliver those requirements.  Alternatively, ETC may chose to release a more detailed RFP which will contain more refined project requirements to ultimately choose a collaborator and entered the scoping phase.  

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